Key technical points of bearings for wind turbine

Wind turbine bearing

Wind turbines work in the field, all the year round, the working condition is poor, temperature, humidity and bearing load change is very big, the wind speed can be up to 23 m/s, has the impact load, so the bearing with good sealing performance and lubricating performance, impact resistance, long life and high reliability, the generator when the wind is about to start at level 2 or 3, and can follow the wind of change, Therefore, the bearing structure needs to be specially designed to ensure low friction and high sensitivity. Large yaw bearings require outer rings with teeth, so the bearing design, material, manufacture, lubrication and sealing must be specially designed.

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Self-lubricating bushing design & manufacturing

Wind turbine works in the field all the year round, working conditions are bad, temperature, humidity and bearing load change greatly, wind speed up to 23m/s, and with impact load, so it requires bearings to have good sealing and lubrication performance, impact resistance, long life and high reliability. Because the generator will start in level 2-3 wind and can rotate with wind direction changes, special bearing structure design is needed to ensure low friction and high sensitivity requirements. In the design and manufacture, the material processing, heat treatment, lubrication, sealing and anticorrosion of large yaw bearings with outer ring teeth have special requirements, which require special design and research. The host life of wind turbine is set as 20 years. Therefore, the reliability life of wind turbine bearings is required to be the same as the unit life, and more than 20 years, because the bearing installation location is not easy to disassemble, and the disassembly cost is high, and the cycle is long.

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The technical requirements

The installation site & bushing design.

Bearings are used in the rotor spindle, gear box (speed up machine), generator, yaw gear box (reducer), yaw rotating seat, blade moment rotating seat, hydraulic pump and other parts of the fan. The yaw bearing is installed at the connecting part between the tower and the cockpit, and the variable rotor bearing is installed at the connecting part between the root of each blade and the hub. The variable rotor bearing and yaw bearing used in the variable rotor and yaw system are the super large rotary bearing.

The main shaft bearing of the rotor needs to be started, accelerated, decelerated and stopped irregularly repeatedly while undergoing variable load. Therefore, in addition to the research on the design of rotor spindle bearing, bearing type, bearing clearance, bearing roller number, convex processing, cage structure and other conditions, especially the minimum load, average load, maximum load of bearing parts, as well as the best technical conditions are particularly important.

The design should take into account the maximum load, the necessary strength of the axle box and the deformation of the axle box under the average load. It is necessary to study the bearing life, select the thin axle box design that meets no extra burden, and fully calculate the life of the spindle bearing in practice.

In addition, it is necessary to consider the deformation of the axle box and outer ring raceway surface, calculate the load of each rolling body, and calculate the life of the rotating ring and the fixed ring respectively.

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The design requirements

Bearings is Pushing the offshore wind sector forward.

There’s no end in sight for wind-turbine growth.

Bearings that can provide the highest possible performance potential in a compact design are ideal for reducing the overall component size, weight, and manufacturing costs in wind turbines. This is particularly true and challenging of main-shaft bearings in offshore turbines, which must withstand harsh sea-salt conditions without fault.

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Offshore projects can leverage strong marine winds to cost-effectively supply electricity to these customers.


Bearings lubrication

There’s no end in sight for wind-turbine growth.

Due to the harsh field operation environment and complex load of wind power bearings, they often need to work in the environment of extremely high temperature, extremely low temperature, large temperature difference between day and night and variable speed, so it is recommended to choose the highly adaptable lithium compound grease and polyurea grease grease. In view of the distribution of wind turbines in China, the lubricant of wind power bearings requires low temperature resistance, extreme pressure anti-wear and thermal stability. It is generally recommended to use low temperature grease with consistency of 1# containing solid additives abroad, which can still be lubricated below -40℃. Domestic grease can be used as 7011 low temperature extreme pressure grease.

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Offshore wind power

High-powered turbines are a challenge to conventional bearing designs.

offshore turbines rely more on direct-drive technology rather than gearboxes.

Main-shaft bearings are sill used routinely, however — and in just under half of offshore turbines, according to findings from MAKE Consulting. These bearings must endure higher loads, increased deflections, and slower rotational speeds than the ones found in smaller offshore turbines. The lubricants are exposed to saltwater, a corrosive element that may cause unwanted tribology conditions and premature bearing surface damage.

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Maximizing offshore performance

The sheer size of offshore turbines — which are typically double the capacity of onshore machines — and extreme wind loads mean great demands are placed on a turbine’s gearbox and main-shaft bearings. The potential for costly failures in offshore wind turbines runs high. This means it is vital to choose high-quality components with reliable system designs for efficient operation and minimal downtime.

Ideally, a bearing’s geometry, clearances, and load capacity are custom-engineered for the application’s operational conditions and this is particularly important in offshore turbines.

Wind-turbine, offshore bushings
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An improperly engineered bearing may cause too much pre-load, which may result in high stresses, high bearing temperatures, and a shorter life. Additionally, a bearing with too much clearance may experience excessive deflections, improper roller load sharing, higher stresses, misalignment, and edge loading, premature cage, or sliding damage. There’s a lot that can go wrong. (“Clearance” is the total distance that one bearing ring moves relative to another.)

Regardless of the form of damage, however, the result is the same: compromised performance of the turbine. Eventually, the bearing requires repair or replacement, leading to turbine downtime and lost operation. Technical expertise and product quality are necessary to successfully capitalize on the asset’s longevity and potential.

Offshore component repairs and replacements are also typically more costly than onshore ones. Replacing a damaged bearing in an offshore turbine requires a specialized O&M team with a transport vessel and the necessary equipment to correctly diagnose the problem. Additionally, it’s necessary to disassemble the turbine to repair the damage, which requires a costly offshore carane rental.

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  • Frequently asked questions

In the development and development of fan bearings, the main technical difficulties are sealing structure and grease, special raceway processing method and heat treatment technology, special cage structure design and manufacturing method, etc

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Installation of Marine fan

For those wanting to take advantage of such project developments, it requires working with the right suppliers who can offer proven expertise on problem-solving and total system design to tackle the challenges of offshore wind.

Wind-turbine, offshore, worker, boat, sea, sun, vessel

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For those wanting to take advantage of such project developments, it requires working with the right suppliers who can offer proven expertise on problem-solving and total system design to tackle the challenges of offshore wind.

Dependable engineering and expertise are critical when selecting bearings capable of the performance required in offshore wind turbines.

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Making the right choice

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Reliability of the main shaft requires a bearing that can adequately withstand various loads from ever-changing winds. This feature is particularly critical as wind loads increase, such as in offshore applications.

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Bearings that offer the highest possible performance potential in a compact design are ideal for reducing the overall component size, weight, and manufacturing costs in wind turbines.


Additional options are available to increase reliability and performance. For example, for onshore turbines, advanced diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings are available that protect against micropitting and other surface damage.


The installation of offshore fans is basically completed by two types of ships, jack-up platforms and floating cranes

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Type of mounting vessel

  • Self-propelled jack-up fan installation ship
  • Pile leg fixed type windmill installation ship
  • Offshore dynamic positioning and semi-submersible installation vessel

Recently, tapered roller bearings have demonstrated desirable performance in a number of new wind-turbine applications when compared to spherical roller bearings, which are the conventional choice in most existing onshore wind applications. In fact, there are several 5-MW+ offshore turbine designs that now employ tapered roller main-shaft bearings.

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    Bushing & Lifting and piling equipment

    Lifting equipment of offshore fan is mainly crane. Lifting capacity and lifting height determine the magnitude of lifting fan.Usually arranged in a ship, but may also be arranged on the stern or side of a ship.In addition, the proposed new installation method also requires the corresponding various new lifting equipment, such as lifts.Piling equipment of offshore fan mainly includes steam pile hammer and hydraulic pile hammer, which are installed in the installation ship according to the need.

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