Innovative wind turbine maker gets peace of mind with Nord-Lock

Quality and durability are Eastern Wind Power’s top priorities for its 50kW vertical axis wind turbines.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Eastern Wind Power (EWP) launched a wind turbine that could be spotted on roofs of urban high-rises, at remote industrial plants, or in developing countries, providing power for basic needs like drinking water and lighting.

Unlike the propeller-type horizontal axis wind turbines that are common in many parts of the world, EWP’s vertical axis wind turbine has three vertical six-metre high carbon fibre blades. The benefits of this vertical configuration include lower noise, less risk to birds, no gearboxes and their associated mechanical issues, and they can be erected closer together than traditional wind turbines.

Not satisfied with the bolt securing solutions they had used previously in their Sky Farm 50kW Vertical Axis Wind Turbine, EWP tried Nord-Lock wedge-locking washers and were amazed with the results. “We cannot afford failures,” says Linda Mongelli Haar, Chairman of Eastern Wind Power, Inc. “We wanted to make sure after all our design and development work that we didn’t lose the quality by putting on nuts and bolts that weren’t going to do the job. That is why we turned to Nord-Lock.”

EWP currently uses Nord-Lock NL8ss washers – 24 per turbine – to secure the blades to the struts. “If the bolts here are not properly secured you get the bolt backing out a little and it will start to vibrate,” says Jonathan Haar, President and CEO of EWP. “And even if it doesn’t back out all the way, it might snap the whole blade off because you’ve allowed enough space for vibration. That vibration can throw your whole turbine out of balance.”

EWP has attracted the attention of Siemens Industry Inc, one of the biggest players in the world wind power sector. “Siemens was looking to venture into ‘small wind’ and they wanted to prototype their inverters with a vertical axis turbine,” says Linda. “They interviewed a lot of companies and they selected us, which was a great vote of confidence.”

The project is in particular receiving a lot of interest from markets like Hawaii and the Caribbean where the energy prices are as high as the wind speeds. “We are also starting to get some interest from owners of high-rise buildings closer to home who understand that distributed energy will pay them back quickly and they will have a good 20 years of virtually free energy after a short break-even,” says Linda.

President of Nord-Lock Inc., calls EWP “a fantastic example of a progressive original equipment manufacturer (OEM)” in the wind power segment. “In the last four years Nord-Lock in North America has seen its OEM business grow as a result of companies like EWP focusing on innovation and safety – and safety of bolted joints is our primary mission,” he says. “We are rapidly becoming an industry standard in the wind power segment.”