Schaeffler opens ‘world’s largest’ bearing test rig

Schaeffler has successfully completed the design and build of what it claims to be the world's largest, most powerful test rig for large size bearings.

The new €7million Astraios facility is now fully operational at the company's Schweinfurt plant in Germany. According to the Schaeffler, it enables large size bearings weighing up to 15 tonnes to be fully tested in realistic conditions using a comprehensive simulation programme. Astraios will be primarily used to test rotor bearings for multi Megawatt wind turbines and to help further improve the understanding of wind turbine systems, the influencing factors and the interrelationship between drive train components. The tests will also provide insights into wind turbine operation and maintenance, as well as information on how to optimise the design of any adjacent constructions. "For Schaeffler, this large size bearing test stand is a logical step towards further developing renewable energy as a strategic growth sector," said company partner Maria Elisabeth Schaeffler. Dr Juergen Geissinger, Schaeffler's ceo, also commented: "In addition to wind power, solar, wave and tidal power are becoming increasingly important. Our solutions play a very significant part in making these new technologies reliable and cost effective."