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Three-dimensional bearing load share behaviour in the planetary stage of a wind turbine gearbox

Three-dimensional bearing load share behaviour in the planetary stage of a wind turbine gearbox

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The Gearbox Reliability Collaborative has conducted extensive field and dynamometer test campaigns on two heavily instrumented wind turbine gearboxes. In this study, the load sharing behaviour between six bearings in the planetary stage is described using a combined approach of measurement and simulation. First, planet-bearing data are analysed to characterise planetary stage behaviour in different environments. Second, a method is described for integrating the measured responses of the planetary stage into an advanced model of the bearing life that significantly changes the life prediction. Third, a sensitivity study of the planet bearings is conducted using multibody gearbox models. Various levels of gearbox flexibility and different planet assembly fits are investigated and compared with experimental observations. Measurements in the dynamometer and field show that bearing loading differs significantly between the six planet bearings. The relative loading behaviour of the planetary stage bearings is directly influenced by boundary conditions of the planet carrier pins. Assembly differences between two identically designed gearboxes cause different load sharing behaviour. Simulations are used to quantify the effect of different component flexibilities. Reduced order models are developed to accurately predict bearing loading in a cost-efficient manner.

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