One of the wind industry’s ongoing challenges is to reduce the levelized cost of electricity (LCoE). Fortunately, the International Renewable Energy Agency revealed that the average cost of electricity fell by 15 percent for onshore and 13 percent for offshore wind power. However, competition remains high. How can the wind industry remain leader of the pack?
Exchanging ideas is key to enable the industry’s big hitters to innovate and develop solutions that help to increase power density and thus reduce the levelized cost of electricity (LCoE). For this reason, companies, experts, and stakeholders are meeting at the Conference for Wind Power Drives (CWD) in Aachen, Germany, on March 21 and 22 of 2023.
As the name implies, the event provides a setting for discussion regarding electromechanical drivetrains in wind turbines – an influential element regarding the cost-benefit-ratio. This is precisely where SKF’s expertise lies. Therefore, the manufacturer will share the latest advancements on its hydrodynamic plain bearings for planetary gears at the conference.
A new generation of plain bearings
To reduce costs while increasing power output and keeping the weight up-tower to a minimum, many modern gearboxes comprise a multi-planet system. These are characterized by a higher number of smaller planet gears – which limits the remaining space to house bearings.
Hydrodynamic plain bearings are a perfect fit for this challenge because of their smaller cross section. These are commonly made with a mono-material bushing that can be mounted either fixed to the planet pin, the planet gear, or as a floating bushing between the pin and gear wheel.
Here the second generation hydrodynamic plain bearings come in, where SKF is taking the solution even one step further. By establishing a specifically designed sliding material that is sprayed directly on the planetary pin, SKF’s hydrodynamic plain bearings now have an even smaller cross section, meaning planetary gears can be downsized even further. On top of this, different materials can be used depending on the application requirements which makes the manufacturing process more flexible and cost efficient.
SKF at the CWD in Aachen
Do you want to learn more about this improved solution? Listen to Robin Reynders’ talk “A new generation of hydrodynamic plain bearings: enabling the next step in gearbox torque density” at the Conference for Wind Power Drives (CWD) in Aachen, Germany, on March 21, at 11:30 AM.