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SKF has developed a new single bearing solution, which removes the main shaft, saving weight and cost in the nacelle of wind turbines and protecting the gearbox from the rotor loads. Intended for the new generation of large wind turbines, the new double row taper roller bearing (DRTRB) with segmented PEEK (a high grade engineering polymer material; polyetheretherkeytone) cage gives operational reliability, together with low friction. In addition, the PEEK cage and other design features enable increased maintenance intervals. The new DRTRB has two rows of tapered rollers arranged ‘back to back’, giving high load carrying capacity with high stiffness. The bearing is pre-loaded and the gearbox is loaded just by pure torque load and protected from the rotor loads, as the bearing supports the rotor and drive train. The large diameter of the bearing makes it strong enough to withstand yaw and tilt moments. The PEEK cage is segmented in order to make it more flexible and minimise contact forces and friction. Codenamed ‘Nautilus’, the new bearing can be used in both geared and gearless wind turbine designs.
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