The wind energy industry’s trend toward multi-megawatt turbines, whether onshore or offshore, presents particular challenges when it comes to reliability. For Timken, it is an opportunity to put 110 years of engineering history to work on the ultimate “app”: a new series of massive, ultra-large tapered roller bearings based on the revolutionary invention company founder Henry Timken patented in 1898.

"Imagine how Henry Timken would delight in seeing the evolution of his tapered roller bearings to drive wind turbines, with outer diameters upwards of 3 meters (9 feet)," said Hans Landin, Timken's director of process original equipment and wind energy. "The fundamental engineering of the UltraWind Series is similar to the original. Yet the application ¾in a turbine erected high on a wind tower, in extreme conditions with unpredictable loads – demands a system approach combining tapered roller bearings with integrated seals, lubrication and condition monitoring."

With the highest life ratings in the industry verified by Germanischer Lloyd, the new UltraWind Series of bearings provides a cost-conscious, simplified drivetrain for main-shaft wind turbine designs (both gear and gearless). For multi-megawatt turbines, the pre-loaded tapered roller bearing type is better suited than other bearing types to address concerns such as stresses, rigidity and load management that affect bearing life and reliability.

Timken's UltraWind Series of bearings provides superior stiffness to manage motion of the main shaft and rotor. Its bearing raceway profiles are designed to control maximum stress levels for enhanced durability and the cage is optimized for capacity and roller retention, including both steel and polymer configurations.

The UltraWind Series is part of an integrated main-shaft system solution designed to customers’ specific operating requirements. In close collaboration with customers, Timken takes into account the total operation of the bearing and power-drive system to optimize the sustainable life of the equipment.