Oct 15, 2015 10:14 AM
ThyssenKrupp starts operation of world's most modern test and development center for wind turbine components
The industrial and technology group ThyssenKrupp has started operation of a new test and development center for slewing rings in Lippstadt. Covering an area of 3,000 square meters, the facility is one of the biggest and most modern of its kind in the world. It will be used to test and optimize slewing rings for onshore and offshore wind turbines. With the new development center ThyssenKrupp is intensifying its cooperation with customers, suppliers and universities. Together they will drive forward the development of slewing ring technology for the industrial use of wind power.
"Wind power is the most important renewable energy in the world – and it continues to have the greatest growth potential. As individual wind turbines grow increasingly large and powerful, the requirements to be met by components manufacturers are changing. As a development partner we support our wind energy customers in making this energy form available for use on an industrial scale. To underline this goal we now have one of the world's most advanced research and test facilities for slewing ring systems," says Dr. Karsten Kroos, CEO of the Components Technology business area.
The new development center has facilities for testing slewing rings with outside diameters of up to six meters. These are used as rotor bearings in the biggest commercial wind turbines currently available with an output of up to seven megawatts. Testing will focus mostly on the material grade and quality of various slewing bearings. In addition function and lifecycle tests will be carried out on individual components and assemblies. Here the focus will be on induction-hardened bearings, extremely powerful components suitable for large-scale applications. The test center is due to be expanded as soon as next year. Then it will be possible to test and optimize under real conditions slewing bearings for turbines with a capacity of up to ten megawatts.
Slewing bearings are essential to the functioning of a wind turbine. They are used wherever movements and forces have to be transmitted within the turbine. Most wind turbines have a total of five slewing bearings. Up to two main bearings are generally fitted in the rotor. The yaw bearing keeps the nacelle facing into the wind. And the three rotor blades are attached to the hub by pitch bearings, the movement of which controls the output of the turbine. In the area of renewable energies, slewing bearings are also used in solar systems as well as ocean current and tidal power stations.
ThyssenKrupp is one of the world's leading suppliers of slewing bearings. The company also produces seamless rolled rings of steel and nonferrous metals as well as turntables and structural elements. Around 7,200 employees at 17 production sites in ten countries work in this operating unit. As well as power generation from wind and other renewable energy forms, these components are used in numerous other engineering applications, for example in cranes, excavators, tunnel boring machines as well as rail vehicles, telescopes, antenna installations and the aerospace industry.
ThyssenKrupp in the wind industry
ThyssenKrupp is an important partner to the wind industry. In addition to manufacturing components, the company is a major supplier of service products and engineering. For example it builds elevators for wind turbines as well as fully automated facilities for the production of rotor blades. In addition ThyssenKrupp supplies wind farm operators with state-of-the-art testing equipment for the remote monitoring of wind turbines and develops energy storage systems for industrial use. ThyssenKrupp also operates a distribution business for pipes, steel, and industrial equipment used in the construction of turbines, towers and foundations. The company also develops innovative foundation structures for offshore wind turbines. In materials, too, ThyssenKrupp is a partner to the wind industry. Extremely wear-resistant steel plate is used among other things to build foundations, towers and installation ships.