Ramping up the world’s largest direct-drive permanent magnet shaft generators in Lappeenranta

Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch is currently ramping up production in its Lappeenranta factory for the world’s largest direct-drive permanent magnet shaft generator (PMSG). The first order for 16 machines, each with a power output of over 4 MW, will be installed in next-generation dry cargo container vessels.

The design of this giant PMM2000M machine began nearly 3 years ago in Lappeenranta to fulfill the needs of large containerships. In August 2022, the design was approved by two classification societies. The factory’s assembly process piloted the first 2 units during October and November 2022. Tens of additional units are now in the company’s backlog for delivery in 2023–2024.

The stators for each of these machines are produced in China and then shipped to Lappeenranta, where the final PMSGs will be assembled. Manufacturing of such massive machines calls for specialist knowledge due to the high magnetic forces involved.

Thanks to the company’s significant investment in 2018 in its Large Drive Test Center (LDTC), the factory has the space and capacity to carry out the massive assembly work. The engineering and production teams designed and manufactured new tools to handle the large machines and worked to establish new processes to ensure a smooth production flow.

As of the start of December, testing has started, and the first generator has completed its no-load rotation testing.

“Everything is progressing slowly because the machine is so big and heavy,” comments Sergey Groshev, Customer Project Manager at Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch. “Even connecting a single cable is no longer a simple task. We must use a special lifting crane and platform because the connection point is 4 meters from the ground.”

Once everything was in place for the first machine and the breakers were closed, the entire team was thrilled to see how quickly they managed to get the generator running up to its rated speed without any issues.

A string test with the customer’s drive will demonstrate the system operation at full power. Yaskawa Environmental Energy / The Switch is in a unique position to offer such kind of testing, thanks to LDTC and the test system what was built for such large capacity.

The first units are scheduled for delivery in January and February of 2023 to China.