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WT-Bearing Center.NRW


Premature roller bearing failures impact the reliability of wind  turbines (WT). For this reason, the industry is pushing for the  exploration of measures to improve the reliability of bearings specifically for the use in wind turbines. For this purpose «WEA-Lagerzentrum.NRW” (WT bearing center) will be established under guidance of CWD in North Rhine-Westphalia. In this bearing center, industry and research institutes will acquire expertise to develop and qualify rolling and journal bearings, considering the whole supply chain (bearing, transmission and wind turbine manufacturers). In order to establish such WT bearing center, it is necessary to gain experience as well as to build prototype test rigs and to develop new test procedures and prove their effectiveness.

Worldwide unique bearing test rigs

For this purpose two worldwide unique bearing test rigs will be constructed within the project »Reduction of bearing failures in the drive train of wind turbines«. The required test rigs would allow the analysis of currently insufficiently explored failure phenomena, especially White Etching Cracks (WEC). It will be possible to examine planetary and HSS roller bearings with an internal diameter up to 240 mm under a multiaxial load up to 2 MN or load dynamics of 100 Hz. Furthermore highly accelerated life test procedures (HALT) will also be developed. The developed approaches will increase the wind turbine reliability by the reduction of wind turbine bearing failures.

Approach of the project

Project overview

The approach of the project WEA-Lagerzentrum.NRW is divided into four phases. In the first phase »Hardware Implementation« the two prototype test rigs will be constructed and put into operation. Therefore a list of requirements for the development of the test benches will be created and the variables that influence the service life of the bearings will be recorded and quantified. The second phase »Test Procedures HALT & WEC« includes the development of accelerated life test procedures under multiaxial loads. Based on this, special test procedures for the reproduction of WEC and the approval of roller bearings will be elaborated. The developed test procedures will be applied and validated in the third phase »Validation« by 25 tests on the HSS-bearing test rig and 15 tests on the planetary bearing test rig.  In addition, simulation models will be created to calculate the influence of the test parameters on the local loads of the examined bearings in the phase »Optimization«. In this phase the test rigs and test parameters will be optimized.

The test rigs and test procedures will not only contribute to the safety and efficiency of energy supply, but also strengthen and expand the pioneering role of North Rhine-Westphalia in the field of wind turbine technology. The project budget amounts to € 7 million and is funded by the federal state government. The project startet in November 2016. The consortium consists of funded and associated companies form the wind turbine industry. The project coordinator is the Chair for Wind Power Drives (RWTH Aachen University).

Chair for Wind Power Drives
Campus-Boulevard 61
52074 Aachen

Contact CWD:
Stephan Neumann, M.Eng.
Phone: +49 241 80 90853

10. 11. 2016 - 09. 11. 2019

The project is funded by:

Funded companies:

Associated companies:

Project promoted by: