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SKF implements new wind industry quality standard

Move designed to help wind turbine manufacturers as well as wind farm operators improve turbine efficiency and availability,

SKF’s wind industry quality standard (WIQS) is being touted as a major step forward in standardising engineering, manufacturing and quality assurance processes for wind turbines, sub-systems and components. According to SKF, the WIQS takes an innovative approach, bringing together established practices and standards from a number of different disciplines. These include APQP and Engineering Change Management, which are combined with SKF’s industrial engineering experience, gained in sectors ranging from aerospace, automotive and rail, to traditional and renewable energy.

Bernd Stephan, director, SKF Renewable Energy Business Unit, believes the new standard will ensure consistency and full traceability throughout the entire value chain, delivering even greater reliability, controlled maintenance and optimised life cycle cost efficiency. “The wind energy sector is developing rapidly,” he explained. “To optimise productivity and profitability it is essential that turbine output and reliability are maximised. Our wind industry quality standard plays a vital role in helping customers meet these needs by defining specific engineering, manufacturing and quality processes for bearings and other critical turbine components.”  
The SKF WIQS defines six key areas:
  • Advanced quality planning
  • Engineering change management
  • Traceability
  • Non-destructive testing
  • Cleanliness
  • Visual appearance
Together, these control component quality at every stage of the production process. In the example of bearings, this starts with the initial steel melt and continues through manufacturing to final sub-surface and surface inspection, packing and delivery. Every step is governed by techniques adapted from the APQP standard, covering factors such as product and process risk analysis, critical production stages and process validation.
SKF plans to implement the WIQS in phases between 2014 and 2016, in factories that produce wind turbine bearings. The first bearings to be certified to the WIQS will be main shaft and gearbox bearings.


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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power