Plain bearing concept Copyright: © CWD



Jan Euler


+49 241 80 96332



Development and testing of a plain bearing main bearing unit of the next wind turbine generation in a market-relevant scale

For wind turbines with a large rotor diameter and high power output, the current trend goes towards main bearing units for rotor bearings. Up until now, main bearings equipped with roller bearings have been used throughout. However, these have high failure rates and are sometimes replaced several times due to damage over the 20-year service life of the turbine. The replacement of a main bearing executed as a roller bearing is extremely costly. Furthermore, with increasing plant size, roller bearings are increasingly approaching their technical and economic limits, so there is a need for reliable and robust alternatives.

In the completed BMBF project "WEA-GLiTS", a new segmented plain bearing concept was developed. Due to the segmentation and good accessibility, the bearing segments of this plain bearing concept can be replaced on the tower in the event of damage without the time-consuming dismantling of the drive train. This enables a considerable reduction in the maintenance costs of onshore and offshore wind turbines.

The aim of this project is therefore to take up the developed storage concept and make it usable for application in a main bearing unit of market-relevant size.

Project content:

  • Concept development and determination of requirements
  • Detailed design of the plain bearing in an iterative development process
  • Functional verification of the bearing prototype on the Astraios test bench of the joint venture partner SCHAEFFLER
  • Concept transfer to large-scale plants >10 MW rated power


01.04.2022 - 31.03.2025

Funded project partners:​

Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG

Asociated project partners:

Total Energies SE

Project funded by:

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action

Project promoted by:

Projektträger Jülich