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Tuesday, 11 March 2014
16:30 - 18:00 Advanced drive trains technologies
Hardware Technology  

Room: Tramuntana
Session description

In recent years several alternative drive train solutions have been proposed and also introduced on prototypes and in larger series. The new solutions seek to reduce the cost of energy by improving the reliability and service costs while keeping the initial costs competitive. Only a few of the new solutions have found their way into the competitive onshore market. The session will look into some of the potential incremental improvements that can be foreseen on the mainstream onshore market, but also look at some more radical concepts that may hold potential.

Learning objectives

  • Get an understanding of the options for journal bearings when used in the gearbox
  • See how field experience and numerical analysis can be used to optimise the performance of gearbox solutions
  • Learn more about the potential of magnetically geared solutions for wind application
  • See some of the potential improvements that can be implemented on drivetrains with gearboxes
Lead Session Chair:
Steffen Haslev Sørensen, RCA Engineering, Denmark

Andreas Reuter, Fraunhofer IWES
Thomas Meyer Winergy - Siemens AG, Germany
Thomas Meyer (1) F P
(1) Winergy - Siemens AG, Voerde, Germany

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Presenter's biography

Biographies are supplied directly by presenters at EWEA 2014 and are published here unedited

Thomas studied Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University of Technology finishing with a Diploma in 2000. After that he spend another five years at Aachen for research and industry works, finishing with a Doctorate in Engineering.
In 2006 he started his carrier at Flender AG. In 2009 he joined the wind business at Winergy. During his lead of the Application Engineering department at Winergy he started the first investigations of journal bearings in wind applications. Since 2013 he is Manager of New Bearing Technologies to guarantee the successful introduction of journal bearings in serial wind turbine gearboxes.


Journal bearings in wind turbine gearboxes - gearbox and turbine prototype tests


Journal bearings represent a very good technological alternative in comparison with rolling bearings.
Journal bearings are used successfully in large transmissions in different applications like in marine gearboxes and huge milldrives in the area of cement industry for many decades. In this applications journal bearings show a very high reliability in comparison with rolling bearings. The possibility also passes journal bearings starting in conventional gearbox designs for wind turbines.


Winergy, the major supplier of wind turbine drive train components, used this opportunity to analyse the different types of bearings – rolling and journal bearings which were introduced to the innovation concept of Winergy’s technology road map, looking forward using smaller planetary stages in the future, creating new gearbox concepts and drive trains.

Main body of abstract

To guarantee the safe operation of journal bearings in wind applications and to have the ability to offer our customers an optimal bearing solution for the respective application, long-term, extensive bearing tests and gearbox prototype tests with journal bearings were carried out in the last four years.
Different bearing alloys were examined on its wear behaviour and the limits of operation of journal bearings in wind gearboxes were carried out.
Overload situation and idling conditions are primarily in focus of the investigations, including worse climatically conditions forcing mixed friction operation of the bearings.
The investigations were completed with a successful prototype test on a turbine as field validation check.
This prototype gearbox of the 2 MW class - built in series with rolling bearings - is a three stage design with one planetary stage on the low speed site and two helical stages on the
high speed site. All bearing positions were fitted with journal bearings.
The prototype was equipped with a corresponding online measuring system for monitoring during the turbine field validation test. A safe operation of journal bearings at different operation conditions could be proved successfully in the turbine test.


The presentation provides a deeper insight of the key performance of journal bearings in windturbine gearboxes. From these positive experiences journal bearings can be offered as a comparable alternative to rolling bearings. It is sensible to select the optimal bearing type for the respective bearing application in the transmission.
The positive properties and the advantages of journal bearings in wind gearbox applications are introduced primarily under consideration as an alternative to rolling bearings.

Learning objectives
The presentation gives a summary of the journal bearing technology, the construction and the equipment of the prototype gearbox, the prototype tests, and the field test experiences. Furthermore the verified results and their correlations are illustrated.