Fraunhofer Unleashes New Bearing Test Bench

  • Research & Development

German research institute Fraunhofer IWES has presented the now fully operational rotor blade bearings test bench during the inauguration of a new test site in Hamburg.

The goal of the BEAT 6.1 test bench (Bearing Endurance and Acceptance Test rig) is to lower development costs and reduce yield loss in order to make it more economical to operate wind turbines of up to 10MW.

The first test runs for bearings in continuous operation have already been conducted and will be followed by others up until mid-August. Following the test runs in the public project, the infrastructure will be made open for use by all interested parties.

For the endurance tests for bearings for wind turbines up to 10MW, the test engineers at Fraunhofer IWES use data analyses to create time series which simulate various damage mechanisms. This makes it possible to test the resilience of bearings over their entire service life within just a few months prior to their installation in a wind turbine, Fraunhofer IWES said.

“The new test bench at the site in Hamburg bundles activities and also facilitates the experimental testing of bearings for the next generation of wind turbines. With the BEAT 6.1. test bench, Fraunhofer IWES has further enhanced its portfolio of validation services, which help turbine and component manufacturers to verify further and new developments prior to their market launch,” said Andreas Reuter, Managing Director of Fraunhofer IWES.

Rotor blade bearings measuring 5 meters in diameter from the HAPT (Highly Accelerated Pitch Bearing Test) research project have been tested on the new test bench right from the very start.  The test series with function and fatigue tests will continue to run up to summer 2021.

The goal is to develop methods for the accelerated testing of blade bearings in cooperation with the research partners, the bearing manufacturer IMO, and the Institute of Machine Elements, Engineering Design, and Tribology (IMKT) at Leibniz University Hanover.

“The possibility of testing IMO bearings on this unique bench gives us a real knowledge edge. When designing new and ever larger bearings in the future, we will be able to refer to comparisons between various bearing concepts,” said Dr. Henrik Albertsen, Head of Application Technology at IMO.


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