Renewable energy is being developed as a new resource and Koyo bearings play a role here too in the equipment for photovoltaic power generation and wind power generation as well as manufacturing equipment thereof. For example, our bearings are used in the wire saws used to cut silicon wafers of solar cells, the etching equipment and diffusion furnaces of the cell process, conveyance robots used in all processes, sun-tracking devices used in photovoltaic power generation equipment, as well as the main shaft of wind turbines, gear-reducer, generators and swiveling parts in the area of wind power generation.
The main shaft bearing is an important part that not only supports the load applied to the blade due to wind but also transmits rotary torque to the step-up gear.
The spherical roller bearing, which has excellent alignment ability and load resistance is mainly adopted, however the taper roller bearing with excellent axial load performance is often used on the fixed side, while the cylindrical roller bearing with excellent axial movement is often used on the free side.
The step-up gear boosts spindle rotational speed to a speed at which power can be generated. Accordingly, bearings used here need to be high-speed. Moreover, there is a high load, therefore the tapered roller bearing and cylindrical roller bearing are the primary bearings used.
Damage known as "electric corrosion" can occur on bearings used in generators whereby sections of the bearing surface become melted due to an electric current flowing inside the bearing during rotation.
To avoid this, generators adopt an insulated ceramic bearing comprising balls (rolling elements) made from ceramic (silicon nitride), which offers excellent insulation performance.