What You Need to Know About CNC Machining for the Energy Industry

CNC Machining Application for Hydro Power
Jack Lie CNC machining expert

Specialize in CNC Milling, CNC Turning, 3D Printing, Urethane Casting, and Sheet Metal Fabrication Services.

The energy sector comprises the production of components for both renewable and nonrenewable energy sources and the sourcing of both types of energy for energy production. These components might be turbine blades, brackets for attaching solar panels, or something entirely in the context of renewable energy resources such as hydropower and solar power. For components such as forgings and castings, the oil and gas industry, which dominates the nonrenewable energy sector, is the primary market.

At this moment, the oil and gas sector is making lightning-fast progress toward fully recovering from the epidemic. Travel and employment are picking up around the globe, which is a windfall for the business, while energy prices have remained high.

According to Deloitte, oil and gas firms are shifting their attention to their financial health and reducing their debt in response to the COVID losses they have sustained. It implies that most companies reevaluate how they manufacture or purchase their components. Additionally expanding are many forms of renewable energy. The present government in the United States is committed to environmentally responsible infrastructure. It is concerted efforts to recruit people for environmentally conscious employment as the labor force begins to recover.

Many companies that produce components for the energy sector are rethinking their manufacturing process due to the almost unparalleled rise of both sources of energy and the wide-open competitive market. Most machine shops now use CAD/CAM software in conjunction with sophisticated CNC machines; nevertheless, the machine shops that will be genuinely successful will be proactively optimizing their machining.

CNC Machining for the Energy Industry

Why Is CNC Machining Used In The Energy Industry?

The term “energy” brings up thoughts of flashes of lightning, flames, and jarring collisions of powerful forces with one another. This perception seems to be accurate. Every component utilized in the energy industry must be capable of withstanding high levels of pressure and heat.

The pressures and temperatures to which wind turbine blades are subjected rise in tandem with an improvement in the efficiency of the wind turbines. Because the slurry used in fracking is highly pressured and abrasive, the complicated fluid ends of the pipes used in the process need to be changed weekly even though the pipes are constructed of robust metal. Because of all of these stresses, the component pieces must be manufactured from a material that is very resistant to breaking. Unfortunately, heat-resistant metals are often more difficult to machine than less heat-resistant metals.

Even if feeds and speeds may be slowed down by as much as 65 percent due to difficult materials, manufacturers still need an effective method for removing enormous volumes of material to expedite the production of components. The optimum machining process would be one that could mill these metals without making any mistakes, provide superb finishes, and accomplish all of this with as few steps as possible — ideally on just one machine. It would not be easy to do without the use of CNC machining.

What Kinds Of Materials Are Employed?

Titanium and other specialty alloys are heat-resistant metals used to the greatest extent in the energy sector. Aluminum, stainless steel, and precision steel are also often utilized, but they are typically reserved for less essential components. Plastics are even machined to make a wide variety of items.

What Role Does CNC Machining Play In Specific Renewable Energy Sectors?

There are options for CNC machining with any energy project; however, for the sake of this piece, we’ll concentrate on the three primary industries: wind, solar, and hydro.

Wind Power

Wind Power

Wind power generation involves using robust components capable of withstanding enormous stress while offering a high degree of accuracy. Common wind turbine parts that are made using CNC machining include most of the primary driving components placed within the turbine’s nacelle housing. These components are situated inside the wind turbine. These would comprise components such as gears, housings for gearboxes, rotors, primary shafts, generator frames, braking components, Hubs, and parts for the YAW system. Additionally, CNC machining is often used to mill the many holes of high accuracy necessary for the turbine’s heat exchange plates.

In addition to the production of drive components, CNC machining is an excellent choice for manufacturing the huge pitch bearings that are an integral element of the blade angle adjustment mechanism used in wind turbines. By altering the angle of the blades to correspond with the varying wind conditions, these bearings play an essential part in the turbine’s capacity to function at its highest possible level of efficiency while maintaining the highest possible level of safety. Because of their size and the high level of accuracy required, the production of these bearings is best accomplished via CNC machining.

Solar Power

Solar Panel Farm

Although CNC machining has a limited role in the manufacture of solar panels, there is still an opening for machine shops equipped to make support components like panel frames and back and carrier rails. These components are used to hold solar panels in place. Work involving cutting, milling, and drilling is required significantly to produce these kinds of parts.

Hydro Power

Hydroelectric Turbines

Hydropower turbine components are massive in size and need extreme accuracy and endurance, making them ideal candidates for CNC machining. For example, shafts, bushings, turbine structural parts, impellers, and covers must withstand tremendous pressure and water damage. Thus they are often manufactured from carbon and stainless steel and machined using CNC machining. Gates for reservoirs and hydropower facilities provide an additional possibility for CNC machine shops, in addition to turbine components.

When producing components like hydroelectric turbines, for example, CNC machines with the ability to mill and turn bigger pieces of varying scales are required. Turbines may differ in size from a modest 16 feet in diameter (25 tons) to a massive 42 feet in diameter (350 tons) or more.

It Appears That Good Times Are Ahead

When it comes to manufacturing components for green energy projects, CNC machining offers significant advantages and benefits. Durability, accuracy, and consistency in production are essential to the success and safety of renewable energy systems. The components manufactured may range in size and be made from materials suitable for use in various settings.

Runsom’s CNC Machining Capabilities for the Energy Industry

5-axis CNC milling for Oil and Gas Industry

Runsom Precision has supplied the whole energy industry with its components. We acknowledge the necessity for alternative energy sources and the benefits that the renewable sector may bring while still having a significant investment in the manufacturing of parts for the exploration and exploitation of fossil fuels. Like the energy sector, our company is evolving into a diversified supplier that can serve the demands of the whole energy industry by manufacturing components for both traditional and green energy (renewable) projects.

The high efficiency and quality of component production make us a competitive place in the field of CNC machining for the energy manufacturing industry. Manufacturers and workers in the sector of energy production and power generation firmly count on our comprehensive solutions:

  • The advanced CAM tools for tackling complicated machining issues.
  • High-efficiency toolpaths in compliance with forgings and castings.
  • State-of-the-art 5-axis CNC milling, cutting, and drilling.
  • Dynamic Motion™ enhances tool life and reduces cutting time.
  • Digital programmed toolpaths that efficiently target uncut areas.

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