Design of highly loaded slewing bearings

Due to weight and wind loads rotor blade bearings in wind turbines are loaded with high changing bending moments. Their operational behaviour is characterized by long downtime and slow oszillating Motion caused by the pitch adjustment mechanism. State of the art methods of bearing design e.g. DIN ISO 281 or DIN ISO 76 are unrelieble, due to the unconventional loads. Furthermore new control strategies like Individual Pitch Control (IPC) as long as growing sizes of rotor blades result in higher loads of the rotor blade bearing enhancing the probability of the occurrence of wear and fatigue significantly.

A robust design of higly loaded slewing bearings e.g. on rotor blades is the goal of HBDV project. Therefor simulation models and experimental analysis on large ball bearings are carried out. In order to improve technical knowledge about load distributions and damage mechanisms a global model of the wind turbine next to detailed simulation models are applied interdisciplinary. The results are validated by wear and fatigue tests with original sized bearings.

Project content:

  • Evaluation of load collectives and critical operation conditions with mbs tools
  • Structural analysis and optimization of bearing components
  • Wear and fatigue tests on real sized slewing bearings
  • Design analysis of bearing cages


01.07.2018 - 30.06.2021

Funded project partners:

Fraunhofer IWES Institute for Plant Engineering and Fatigue Analysis at TU Clausthal Institute for Machine Design and Tribology at Leibniz Universität Hannover Leibniz Institute for materials engineering at the University of Bremen

Associated project partners:

General Electric Renewable Energy Nordex Energy GmbH SE Senvion Vestas Nacelles Deutschland GmbH

Project funded by:

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action

Project promoted by:

Projektträger Jülich