ZF and Schaeffler are now stepping up the ambition of gearbox and component insights, taking a leading position on drivetrain performance solutions.
Wind turbine technology has made continuous improvements in ensuring reliable performance of the power trains, also under harsh operating conditions and of lowering the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). Further improvements can be made on the basis of an intensive collaboration amongst component suppliers. Using their expertise to analyze in-service operational data and perform predictive analytics will give operators and OEMs better methods to improve the total cost of ownership (TCO).
Unique collaborative approach
As leading suppliers in the wind industry, ZF and Schaeffler are now stepping up the ambition of data insights, taking a leading position on product availability and launching the merge of ground-breaking technology and know-how to monitor and predict wind gearbox performance. Thanks to a cloud based eco-system, connected gearboxes can automatically sense the best way to operate, optimize energy generation and improve turbine economics for any wind site conditions.
ZF meets digitalization challenges through the creation and implementation of various collaborative ecosystems. This results in reduced time to market for innovative and tailor-made solutions designed to meet dramatically changing customer demands. The latest ecosystem focuses on wind energy. ZF will soon be establishing an “Intelligent Performance Management” ecosystem for wind energy with Schaeffler as its first partner.
“Schaeffler and ZF as long-term development partners announce their mutual interest in providing an advanced predictive maintenance solution by combining ZF’s gearbox and Schaeffler’s bearing expertise,” explains Dr. Klaus Geißdörfer, Head of Division Industrial Technology.
A cloud solution with the focus on drivetrain performance
ZF Wind Power is implementing smart gearbox design standards and operational control strategies to optimize and smooth out torque resulting in more efficient and reliable operation of wind turbines.
“New features and services on gearbox system performance advanced digital platforms, open to contributions of several parties, are required”, explains Jan Willem Ruinemans, Head of ZF Wind Power Business Unit. “This cloud approach will help our customers to better plan for maintenance work and fine-tune the actual load on the gearbox.”
New digital solutions like cloud environments allow for a broad and secure offering of valuable domain company knowledge and expertise on customer oriented platforms. To create more encompassing services know-how and expertise of the respective original component provider can be bundled in so-called eco systems in collaboration with partners. “Our calculation and modeling systems perform detailed analyses on the entire system, from individual rolling contacts and bearing supports through to complete transmissions. The analysis of the real operating data in the “virtual twin” of the transmission, which was developed in collaboration with ZF, provides operators with valuable reports about the condition of the equipment”, says Dr. Stefan Spindler, CEO Industrial of Schaeffler AG.
With more than 100GW of ZF wind gearbox installations, the partner based cloud platform will offer a dedicated and in-depth system approach helping the industry to get higher yields, while contributing to a lower cost of electricity.
The Schaeffler Smart EcoSystem has a high-performance, scalable IT infrastructure with the highest data security standards. This open digital ecosystem enables joint cloud-to-cloud solutions thanks to standardized interfaces and encrypted communication via the Internet or VPN connections. The cloud infrastructure makes data exchange and collaboration possible on a global scale and according to the same standards.