Building on its decades-long experience as one of the world’s principal suppliers of rolling bearings for drives found on wind turbines, NSK has now introduced large spherical roller bearings for use on the main rotor. Unveiled at the WindEnergy 2016 exhibition in Hamburg, Germany at the end of September, the first customers have already been secured for this advanced new series of bearings.
Calling upon the company’s extensive experience of the demands that are placed on rolling bearings in wind energy applications, NSK engineers have developed a variety of different designs that are optimally matched to the attributes required of main rotor bearings. For instance, elevated levels of mechanical stress are prevalent as the rotor is exposed to very high wind loads. Although rotational speeds are relatively low at 5 to 20 rpm, the main rotor bearing has to be capable of withstanding both radial and axial loads, including the resulting bending movement of the rotor shaft.
NSKHPS high performance spherical roller bearings featuring a high load factor have been developed specifically for applications of this type, and are manufactured and heat treated in accordance with NSK’s internal Wind Standard U 303.
The breadth of the new range means that a selection of different designs are available. For example, a set of two spherical roller bearings is often used in systems up to 3 MW, while smaller systems frequently deploy a three-point bearing with a single spherical roller bearing (the attached gear is used as the bearing substitute in this configuration).
In large systems, some OEMs opt for a combination of double-row tapered roller bearings and cylindrical roller bearings as fixed and floating bearings. This type of rotor assembly can also benefit from NSK rolling bearings manufactured to the company‘s Wind Standard U 303, with two tapered roller bearings configured typically in a face-to-face arrangement.
Whichever solution is selected, all of the main rotor bearings developed by NSK are tested rigorously and conform to the highest quality requirements.
Established 100 years ago, NSK (Nippon Seiko Kabushiki Kaisha) is a Japanese-listed company that has evolved from a regional ball bearing supplier to a roller bearing specialist and automotive supplier with a global market presence. Today, NSK employs more than 31,500 employees in 30 countries. As per March 2016 NSK achieved a turnover of 975 billion Yen. This result has been driven by ever-increasing investment in research & development, enabling the company to continuously improve the quality of its products and services. This investment supports NSK’s objective of “No. 1 in Total Quality”. In addition to a complete rolling bearing portfolio, NSK develops and manufactures precision components and mechatronic products, as well as systems and components for the automotive industry, including wheel bearing units and electric power-steering systems.
In 1963, NSK’s first European subsidiary, Düsseldorf, Germany, was opened and in 1976, the first European production facility in Peterlee, England. Today, NSK Europe supports pan-European sales with production locations in England, Poland and Germany, logistics centres in the Netherlands, Germany and England and technology centres in Germany, England and Poland. In 1990, NSK purchased the UPI Group including the renowned European bearing manufacturer RHP, with its factory in Newark (UK). Additionally, NSK has developed a comprehensive network of authorised sales distributors. NSK Europe is divided into application-based business divisions: Industry rolling bearing technologies & linear and precision technology (EIBU) as well as bearing modules and steering systems for the automotive industry (EABU & ESBU). In this organisation, NSK Europe’s 3,500 employees achieved a turnover of over 1,000 million Euros as per March 2016.
For more information, visit www.nskeurope.com
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