Spherical roller bearings are used as rotor supports in a significant share of the wind turbines installed around the world. If these bearings fail prematurely, it usually does not make economic sense to replace them due to the high costs involved. Rotor bearings can currently only be replaced if the entire rotor star and large parts of the drivetrain are removed. This can lead to a scenario in which wind turbines are shut down even though they are still functional. Schaeffler has developed an innovative solution for this very case based on split asymmetric spherical roller bearings. With it, the cost of replacing the bearings can be reduced by a good 50 percent.
Removal of the defective bearings and installation of the new split bearings can be done right in the nacelle. The new spherical roller bearings feature optimizations that have been established in the field in several stages over the past few years, such as the asymmetrical contact angles. With this design, the gearbox-side row of rollers that takes up the wind loads is at a steeper angle. This leads to lower internal bearing forces and a higher axial stiffness. With this robust repair solution, Schaeffler offers the wind industry a way of continuing to operate existing wind turbines economically for many more years.
German Renewables Award 2022 for split spherical roller bearings from Schaeffler
With the German Renewables Award, the Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster acknowledges outstanding innovations and personal commitment to renewable energies. The independent jury gave out the award for the eleventh time on August 24, 2022. Schaeffler received an award in the “Product Innovation of the Year” category for its split asymmetric spherical roller bearing.