Remanufacturing wind turbine bearings is a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to purchasing new ones, as it significantly reduces material and energy consumption. SKF offers remanufacturing services for industrial bearings of all major brands across various industries, including wind energy.
The remanufacturing process
The first step in the procedure is disassembling the used bearings, followed by a thorough cleaning of each individual component to remove any traces of grease, dirt, and other contaminants. Depending on the state of the bearings and the specific pollutants present, a variety of cleaning methods may be employed, including ultrasonic cleaning, solvent cleaning, or abrasive blasting.
Next, the bearing components are meticulously inspected for wear, damage, and other issues. This typically involves visual inspection and dimensional measurement. Upon request, non-destructive testing methods such as magnetic particle inspection or ultrasonic inspection are also applied. The inspection results are used to assess whether the bearing can be remanufactured and what repairs are necessary. All findings are documented, and SKF may suggest upgrades to improve turbine performance, such as mounting sensors, integrated lubrication, coating, or sealing solutions.
Any damaged components are restored to their original dimensions and surface finishes through various machining processes. For example, bearing races may be remanufactured using specialized grinding machines to remove surface damage and restore the bearing’s geometry. In some instances, components may be too worn and require replacement. The entire remanufacturing process is thoroughly documented.
After restoration, the components undergo dimensional and visual inspections before reassembly. An SKF certificate is issued to verify compliance with SKF remanufacturing standards.
The remanufactured bearings are carefully packed to protect them during transportation and storage. Subsequently, they are shipped to the customer or installed in the wind turbines as required.
The keys to bearing remanufacturing
Remanufacturing wind turbine bearings requires specialized skills, equipment, and knowledge of bearing technology. It is a task that should only be undertaken by qualified professionals with the appropriate expertise and resources. Proper remanufacturing can extend the life of wind turbine bearings and reduce the environmental impact by reusing existing materials and components.