Rolling element bearings are critical parts of modern wind turbines as they carry the loads of the turning structure and the wind force. The stochastic nature of the wind loads makes it difficult to estimate the useful operational life of the bearings. Condition monitoring of these bearings in a real time environment could be very helpful in estimating their performance and in scheduling maintenance actions when a condition-based maintenance strategy is followed. This procedure can be successfully implemented by using vibration analysis in the time domain or in the frequency domain, giving useful results about the current condition of bearings and the location of potential faults. Permanently located transducers on proper positions on the bearings’ housings can be used in order to collect, process and evaluate real time measurements and provide information about the bearing’s performance. In this work, a test rig is utilized in order to evaluate the performance of rolling bearings. The results of the experimentation are satisfactory and the progress of fatigue failures can be predicted through vibration analysis techniques showing that implementation in real scale may be useful.
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