At this year’s Hannover Messe, NKE Austria GmbH will present bearings for wind turbine gearboxes and generators. The Austrian bearing manufacturer has more than 20 years of experience in the wind energy sector. NKE bearings have been installed in more than 4,000 wind turbines across Europe, the USA and China, equivalent to more than 10,000 MW of installed power.
PT products such as gears, motors, pumps, fans and bearings will—without a doubt—continue to run through rigorous and harsh environments for the foreseeable future, but software and hardware improvements aim to disrupt unplanned downtime and machine maintenance through a series of new condition monitoring assets.
Wind-turbine drivetrains undergo severe transient loading during start-ups, shut-downs, emergency stops, and during grid connections. Load cases that result in torque reversals may be particularly damaging to bearings, as rollers may be skidding during the sudden relocation of the loaded zone. Seals and lubrication systems must work reliably over a wide temperature variation to prevent the ingress of dirt and moisture and perform effectively at all rotational speeds in the gearbox. Many wind-turbine gearboxes have also suffered from fundamental design issues such as ineffective interference fits that result in unintended motion and wear, ineffectiveness of internal lubrication paths and problems with sealing. Improving the resistance of future gearbox designs to all these issues is a key to the future cost of energy generated by wind turbines.