NSK roller guides simplify welding of wind turbine towers

A collaboration between NSK and Spain-based Talleres Ganomagoga has led to a major advance in the welding of wind turbine towers. Based on the latest NSK roller guide technology, innovative linear motion solutions are allowing Talleres Ganomagoga to achieve smooth and accurate movement of its welding machines as the towers increase in length during production.

The Ganomagoga Group, which has history stretching back to 1974, has its headquarters in Pontevedra, in the Galicia region of northwest Spain. Initially formed to serve sectors such as marine, automotive and construction, recent years have seen a number of emerging industries come to the fore, including renewable energy and, specifically, wind power.

Talleres Ganomagoga specialises in the manufacture of critical assemblies for wind turbines, including towers. Due to their size, the towers comprise a number of individual cone segments that the company subsequently welds together. Precision and repeatability are prerequisites in this process, which is why Talleres Ganomagoga relies on linear roller guide technology from NSK.

The company uses large welding machines based on a column and boom concept. These ‘circular welding columns’ weld the internal and external joints of the long steel hoops that form the cones of wind turbine towers. In terms of capacity, the machines can accommodate cones measuring up to 7m in length and 5m in diameter.

To help expedite its welding process, Talleres Ganomagoga required a way of moving a machine along the length of a tower as it grew in size during manufacture. By collaborating with the expert team of engineers at NSK, this vision soon became reality.

Today, the company joins the cones together by manoeuvring a circular welding column along a specially devised system of linear sliders and rails from NSK’s precise and reliable RA series. The combination of NSK super high-load linear sliders and NSK rails (in lengths of 9.225m and 7.8m) helps Talleres Ganomagoga achieve precise movement of its special welding machines in line with production demands.

NSK’s RA series leverages the company’s combined expertise in roller bearing and linear guide technologies. The optimum size of the rolling element, along with the special shape of the roller slides and rails, ensures super high load capacity and equally impressive rigidity.

Long life and smooth operation are mandatory requirements in the application at Talleres Ganomagoga, which seeks zero defects during its welding processes. Here, the use of NSK K1 lubrication units mean long-term maintenance-free operations, while high-performance seals (supplied as standard) block the entry of foreign matter – a highly important factor in operations such as welding where the potential contamination risks are high.

RA series roller guides also provide super-high accuracy and smooth motion, factors that deliver repeatable and stable positioning time after time.

The large welding machines are based on a column and boom design. Photo: Ganomagoga
NSK’s RA series roller guides provide super-high accuracy and smooth motion, even under high loads. Photo: NSK