Seals & Bearings

World's most powerful wind bearing test facility: Schaeffler cooperates with LORC and R&D

 

In cooperation with LORC (Lindø Offshore Renewables Centre) and R&D Test Systems, the world's most powerful test facility for wind turbine main bearings is being built in Lindø, Denmark
• Schaeffler is the first customer to use the test facility
• "Closed Loop Engineering" from Schaeffler as a comprehensive approach for the development of wind turbine bearings

BirminghamUK | Januar30, 2024 | The expansion of renewable energies is being driven to a great extent by wind turbines. Wind turbines are becoming larger and more powerful. The main shaft bearing system, as an integral part of the drive train, is of elementary importance, as this is where all the forces and torques exerted by the wind on the turbine add up. As a market leader and strategic development partner, Schaeffler is rising to the challenge and will contribute actively to the development of multi-megawatt wind turbines.

In Lindø, Denmark, the world’s most powerful test facility for main shaft bearings will be built at LORC (Lindø Offshore Renewables Centre). The investment is in the mid-double-digit millions and includes grants from the Danish GreenLab programme. Concrete test programmes should already be running by the end of 2025. LORC has partnered with R&D Test Systems, which is one of the leading suppliers of test benches for the wind industry, to build the new test facilitySchaeffler played a major part in defining the specifications of the test facility and will be the first customer to test its main shaft bearings for future generations of wind turbines in cooperation with OEMs.

Dr. Michael Pausch, CTO Industrial Schaeffler, stresses: “We are a key market and technology leader for bearing technologies in the wind power industry. With LORC, one of the most experienced operators of test facilities for wind turbine drivetrains, we have found a partner to help us further expand our know-how and our product performance. We now have the opportunity to shape the development of the next generations of wind turbines with suitable testing technology and method development.”

“We have been gaining valuable insights for the development of bearing solutions since 2011 with our large-size bearing test bench 'Astraios,’ the world’s most powerful test bench at the time. With the new test facility, we will now be able to advance into new and future dimensions and contribute to a more rapid development of reliable multi-megawatt turbines,” adds Bernd Endres, Vice President Business Unit Wind, Schaeffler Industrial. 

“Closed loop engineering” for wind turbine bearings
Schaeffler has been offering reliable bearing solutions for on- and offshore wind turbines for around 40 years. Rolling bearings from Schaeffler are found in every second to third wind turbine worldwide. 

Schaeffler takes a “closed loop engineering” approach for its wind turbine bearings. Besides engaging in the pure development of bearing solutions, the Schaeffler experts also support turbine development with system simulations, testing, and field measurement campaigns. The findings gained flow back into the further development of customers’ projects, design tools as well as the development of new bearing solutions. The experts from Schaeffler work closely with developers from OEMs to increase the reliability of wind turbines and make wind power more cost-effective. The new test bench will provide an important building block for the developments of the coming decades.

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