Next-generation roller bearings for wind turbines 03 May 2024

NSK Ltd. has recently developed its Next-Generation High-Load-Capacity Tapered Roller Bearings for Wind Turbines, ideal for reducing the construction and maintenance costs for wind turbines while supporting larger turbines and the spread of offshore wind power.

The product has also been selected for use in the gearboxes of 15MW class offshore wind turbines by a leading European wind turbine manufacturer, with mass production and delivery scheduled to start in this year. Delivery to the Chinese market is also planned to start in 2024. NSK aims to achieve annual sales of ¥4 billion by 2026 for this product.

In recent years, the push for decarbonisation has been driving expansion of the wind power market. In particular, there is growing demand to improve the power generation efficiency of wind turbines, accelerating development of larger wind turbines and offshore wind turbines. There is also increasing demand to reduce the construction, transportation, and maintenance costs of power generation systems, with longer life and lighter weight expected from the bearings used in wind turbines. It is this demand in the industry which led to the creation of NSK’s new roller bearings.

The roller crowning shape of the roller bearings have been optimised by leveraging NSK’s numerical simulation and manufacturing engineering technologies, resulting in a load capacity that the company states is approximately 25% higher than the conventional model. This higher load capacity translates to more than double the longevity. The optimised roller crowning shape also reduces and equalises the contact surface pressure between the rollers and the inner and outer rings. This prevents excessive surface pressure at the roller ends even under high loads.

With a higher load capacity, these bearings enable a weight reduction of approximately 30% compared to the conventional product, according to NSK. With the conventional product, excessive contact pressure would occur at the roller ends, so the bearings were made larger to handle the required high load. In contrast, with the newly developed product, pressure is uniform, so no upsizing is needed.

Becca England Assistant Editor t: +44 (0) 1727 615 413

Becca is the latest member to join our team and is eager to get stuck into the world of fasteners. She brings an enthusiastic and fresh outlook on what we do editorially and will be leading our social media activity – including sourcing material, editing articles and posting online.