The reliability of a gearbox system for wind turbines can be substantially less than 20 years. According to theNational Renewable Energy Laboratory Gearbox Collaborative Failure Database, more than two-thirds of failures in gearboxes are a result of bearing failures.
In response, Rob Budny, President of RBB Engineering, and Ashley Crowther, Global Vice President of Insight at Romax Technology, set out to calculate the bearing system reliability of two actual wind turbine gearboxes in the same turbine and exposed to the same conditions to see if their was a difference in performance, despite both gearboxes being certified to the same design standard. They used RomaxWIND - a gearbox system analysis tool that models gear and bearing stresses in wind turbine gearboxes.
They have published details of the project in North American Windpower alongside their findings and conclusions.