Schaeffler is using over 30 years experience producing bearings for wind turbines to further optimise the cost-effectiveness and reliability of its wind power products, technologies and maintenance services for the Australasian market.
Wind power is showing continued growth in Australia according to the Clean Energy Council’s latest report. In 2014, wind accounted for over 30% of all renewable energy and 4.2% of Australia’s total energy generation.
“Rolling bearings play a key role in wind turbines, and downtime or maintenance work can be costly, especially on off-shore systems,” says Mr Ben Kang, power transmission and wind energy sector manager, Schaeffler Australia. “Demand for greater reliability in the wind power sector has greatly increased in recent years – for both on-shore and off-shore installations.”
To meet the increasing demands for reliability in wind power systems and components, Schaeffler created the Wind Power Standard (WPOS). In order to achieve the high standards, Schaeffler relies on coordinated and transparent processes, defined change management, strict quality monitoring, and extensive documentation across the entire process chain in close cooperation with customers and suppliers.
“WPOS is designed to make sure we’re always designing bearings with optimum quality and reliability in mind,” says Mr Kang. “Schaeffler develops the best solution for every bearing position by working together with its customers from start to finish.”
To further extend the benefits of WPOS, Schaeffler takes further quality and reliability assurance measures for all products and technologies it engineers for the wind power sector. These include: Optimum Design with state-of-the-art calculation and simulation programs: Along with many years of experience and extensive system expertise, the specialists at Schaeffler ensure the optimum design of wind power bearings with especially state-of-the-art calculation and simulation programs. Schaeffler takes the entire system into account, from individual rolling bearings and their components to the adjacent structures and the complete drive train, which is depicted and optimised with multi-body simulation programs developed in-house.
Realistic tests on Schaeffler Astraios: The calculations are enhanced and validated on powerful test rigs. Bearings up to 3.5 meters in outside diameter can be tested on one of the most state-of-the-art and biggest large-size bearing test rigs in the world. Astraios simulates the real loads and torques that occur in a wind turbine. Schaeffler uses these realistic simulations to contribute decisively to a faster and more reliable design of wind turbines and increases their cost-effectiveness and safety.
Asymmetric FAG spherical roller bearings for increased axial load carrying capacity: Asymmetric FAG spherical roller bearings feature a larger contact angle on the bearing row subject to axial loads and a smaller contact angle on the bearing row subject primarily to radial loads. The asymmetric contact angles reduce sliding movements in the drive train through an even higher axial rigidity of the bearing. A lamellar, amorphous hydrocarbon coating, Triondur C, provides the bearings with reduced friction and high wear protection under mixed friction conditions.
Innovative solutions against white etching cracks (WEC): Schaeffler has extensive testing options to create WEC, investigate their causes, and develop solution concepts for reducing the danger of WEC. These could, for example, be an optimised design of the bearing, the selection of a WEC-resistant material, or even an improved lubrication concept. The product solutions recommended by Schaeffler are through-hardened, black oxide coated rolling bearings. Along with other advantages, the Durotect B coating offers increased protection against WEC, which is statistically proven through extensive field experience.
High system availability thanks to condition monitoring: Schaeffler offers comprehensive services and products for condition monitoring, such as remote monitoring and diagnosis, offline measurements, endoscopy, thermography, and torque measurement. These technologies allow the costs for maintenance measures to be reduced and the availability of wind turbines increased.