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Ludlum Measurements Blog

The Answers Might be Blowing in the Winds

Posted by Carol Truitt on Mon, Nov 9, 2015 @ 10:11 AM

Ludlum Measurements, Inc. is a long-time contender in the radiation detection instrumentation industry. Fifty-plus years of innovation in designing state-of-the-art detectors, counters, scalers, and other items related to detection and measurement of radiation and contamination would seem to be enough to keep any company busy, but we have diversified our focus on nuclear power and its associated requirements to include wind-generated power.

Our company headquarters is based in Sweetwater, Texas, the administrative center of Nolan County. Due to its strategic location within the plains, ridges, and tablelands of the state, the wind is a near-constant force. With fossil fuels exacting steep costs both to the environment and to consumers’ pockets, ‘mining’ the wind became a huge growth industry in the early 2000’s.

Tall, some would say elegant, wind towers march across the landscape of west Texas. Trios of narrow blades, as sweeping and graceful as an arctic tern’s wings, rotate in near-silent stateliness that belies their genuine speed. The rotation causes the turbines to convert the moving air to electrical energy via a complex configuration of generators, converters, switches, and boards, and feed it to the transmission line far below near ground level. This is where the magic happens, where Ludlum Measurements’ engineers and technicians apply their expertise to the project.

The components housed in the lower portion of the tower include complicated and fickle wiring, capacitors, circuit boards, connections, and switches, and much more. Some companies selected or fabricated parts that gave out or malfunctioned, thereby rendering the entire unit defective. With our manufacturing abilities we are able to re-engineer those parts and replace them with fully functioning, robust, and high quality components. Circuit boards are 100% tested prior to and after installation to ensure full function for the customer. Per customer request, we can even produce and replace existing units with improved, customized products to better service their industry.

Several companies already use Ludlum’s abilities and facilities to keep their wind farm turbines generating power for Texas consumers. Experienced people, dedicated shop space, and normal stock on-hand means that damaged turbine components may be received, repaired, refurbished, packed, and shipped to the customer on the same day. Ludlum’s central location makes personally delivering and picking up units the preferred method for others. As this line of business grows, additional benefits such as two-year warranty in lieu of the usual one-year warranty are added.

Wind power continues to grow across the country as reliance on fossil fuels becomes less attractive. Texas is a so-called “electricity island”, meaning that nearly 100% of the power generated within its borders must be used immediately or it lost. A balance must be maintained between production and consumption, and operators continuously monitor the grid to adjust to changing conditions. Consumers expect that their power requirements will be met the instant they place a demand on their system. The state therefore requires sources of power that are dependable, long-lasting, and highly efficient. Ludlum Measurements is pleased to provide the same level of expertise, adaptability, and craftsmanship for the wind power companies as we have been done for the nuclear industry.

CNBC recently aired a series of episodes about wind energy on the program segment "Where the Jobs Are". The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), related service companies, and Sweetwater, Texas were featured in this informative program. You can view the video and get an overview of this rapidly evolving energy industry by clicking HERE.