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Snapshot: Testing Heavyweight Bearings for 10MW Turbines from IWES

This huge spaceship-looking contraption will be testing the next generation of wind-turbine bearings as manufacturers press on into double-digit capacities and ever-growing loads.

The Fraunhofer Institute of Wind Energy Systems (IWES) has launched its new bench for testing wind turbine bearings at its site in Hamburg, Germany.

Bearings experience some of the highest loads within a wind turbine, and have a "comparatively high failure rate", IWES says, so rigorous testing of the component is essential to avoid unnecessary and valuable downtime.

This new bench can test 10-tonne bearings that could be installed in 10MW turbines. Using data analysis to simulate various damage mechanisms, engineers are able to test the resilience of bearings over a full lifecycle in just a few months.

The institutes also hopes the test bench can be used to help develop the next generation of wind-turbine bearings.