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A wind-wind situation for turbines

Preventing wind turbine failure with industrial seals

Carbon neutrality is a long-term goal of many governments and wind power has revealed itself as a potential enabler. Countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas are now taking advantage of falling R&D and construction costs to build large-scale onshore and offshore wind farms. The focus is now on procuring optimal engineering components to ensure turbines are as robust as can be.

Such enormous structures are only as strong as the parts that they comprise. That being the case, it should come as no surprise that even the smallest components can have a massive impact on a wind turbine’s operational reliability and overall lifecycle. Take shaft seals, for example – something SKF knows a thing or two about.

Industrial seals that bear the burden

Every aspect of wind farm infrastructure should be adequately fortified to cope with fluctuating weather conditions and extreme mechanical forces: Damning characteristics of wind turbine environments. Fortunately, SKF is well versed on the interplay between rotating equipment having spent decades working with manufacturers to optimize turbine performance, reliability, and output.

Did you know?

Back in 2019, SKF entered a three-year partnership with the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Laboratory to study wind turbine drivetrains under various conditions. SKF contributes spherical rolling bearings, bearing housing, seals, and condition monitoring technology to the project.

This has led to the development of a completely customizable sealing solution for the main shaft bearing of wind turbines. Our application-tailored solution is able to help retain lubricants and shut out harmful contaminants, particles, and moisture. After all, acting as a protective barrier between a machine’s inner working and the outside world is the defining attribute of a good seal. 

Built to last 

SKF industrial seals for wind turbines work with both grease and oil lubricants and can withstand a wide range of operating temperatures. Made of polyurethane or nitrile rubber, they are also resistant to ozone and UV radiation. 

As you can see from the graphic above, industrial seals for wind turbines include axial excluder seals in the form of V-rings, CT-1, and the special GR06. The adjacent radial shaft seals we have are the HSS (nitrile rubber) and – featuring grooves, a smooth outer diameter, and an intricate lip design – the highly wear resistant HRS (polyurethane). 

Testing under real-life conditions

SKF’s advanced test center in Germany is the only site capable of testing large size bearings, typically used in wind turbines, under conditions that represent real-life dynamic loads. Find out more!

To see a virtual installation, check out this video. Or if you would like to find out more about SKF sealing solutions for the wind industry, you can leave a comment below or get visit our website.