How the Timken Portfolio Supports Wind Growth

Doug Herr, vice president – sales and marketing at Timken subsidiary PT Tech, describes how product innovation at Timken supports the transformative impact wind energy is having on global energy production.  

Doug Herr, vice president – sales and marketing, PT Tech by Timken

The Global Wind Energy Council’s 2020 Wind Report notes that a single offshore wind turbine today has more capacity than the output of the world’s first two offshore wind parks combined. How have suppliers like Timken contributed to this achievement?

“Wind is a relatively new market. Getting the technology to the point where it is scalable and affordable has taken significant design collaboration between turbine manufacturers and specialized suppliers over the last 20 years. At Timken, we’ve invested in understanding the root science of how turbines harness wind, and turned that knowledge into real-world products and services that maximize power transmission in the drivetrain from end-to-end. The result has been more efficient and reliable solutions that increase the viability and cost-effectiveness of wind as an energy source. Not just for wind operators, but ultimately for everyone who consumes wind-generated electricity.”

How has the Timken wind product portfolio evolved along with the industry?

“It’s grown significantly to offer customers a complete package. At first, wind farm operators and manufacturers sought out specialized Timken® bearings that could better accommodate the unique conditions seen by turbine main shaft bearings. Today, our portfolio extends beyond bearings to address power transmission in every major component including gearboxes, high-speed shafts and generators. As turbines get larger for increased capacity, one of the industry’s biggest challenges is dealing with transient loads. Those are changes in the magnitude and direction of torque loads based on constantly changing wind conditions. Transient loads are bad for equipment, and expensive for operators. We are essentially a single source for a myriad of solutions that address this issue among others: bearings, torque limiters, high-speed couplings, lubrication systems, and also uptower wind services like large correctives and preventative maintenance on mechanical and electrical systems.”

How does Timken collaborate across its portfolio to deliver the right solutions at the right time for customers?

“There are two ways we do this. First, our sales team does incredible work understanding customer needs throughout the drivetrain. They relay those requirements back to engineering so customized solutions can be created. Second, our engineering teams have individualized knowledge and skills sets, which can be combined to develop new products. Our latest innovation is a collaboration between two of our subsidiaries: our torque specialists at PT Tech and our coupling specialists at Lovejoy. Timken now offers a packaged, high-speed coupling solution with an integrated torque limiter for 2 MW-class turbines. From a technical standpoint, it reduces peak torque up to 40 percent and oscillation up to 70 percent. From a business standpoint, it lowers operating costs by increasing gearbox life and reducing ongoing maintenance costs. It’s a flexible solution that will continue to evolve as turbines reach 3 to 4 MW capacity, which are being prototyped now. That’s our focus across the portfolio—flexibility that gets Timken customers and consumers closer to a more sustainable energy future.”

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