Most powerful end-of-line test bench for ZF Wind Power

ZF Wind Power answers the current and future

growth in the offshore market with the investment in a 15 MW end-

of-line test bench for complete powertrains.

The demand for wind energy is increasing worldwide. Turbines are

getting bigger and more powerful. As a result, the powertrain – the

heart of the turbine – is growing. With the expansion of ZF Wind

Power’s portfolio from the serial gearbox to serial powertrain

production, the manufacturing processes will be adapted, and the end-

of-line test process upgraded.

Empowering a sustainable future together starts on the shop floor

Wind turbine manufacturers are taking drastic measures to mitigate

risks based on strong market fundamentals for achieving sustainable

growth. While the wind energy supply chain faces massive challenges,

ZF commits to taking important steps in empowering a sustainable

future together with its partners.

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Page 2/5, April 25, 2023

One of these steps is the integration of powertrain assembly at the shop

floor level. The team uses an advanced software tool to build a digital

twin of the production facility before building the plant and setting up

the assembly processes with maximum use of available production

knowledge. “This encompasses all necessary assembly and logistical

steps to be virtually predefined, checked in 3D, optimized, and

validated,” explains Felix Henseler, CEO of ZF Wind Power. The ZF

development of a digital twin for future serial production ensures swift,

effective integration in the existing manufacturing facilities. “This

involves completely transforming the current set-up for accommodating

future product portfolios, including the V236-15.0 MW,” concludes Felix


18 MNm of torque to test at high load levels

In the first quarter of 2024, the first serial-produced 15 MW powertrain

for the offshore market will leave ZF Wind Power Lommel. Before

these powertrains are shipped to the OEM’s destination, the system

functionality of the complete powertrain (gearbox, generator, and

main bearing assembly) needs to be verified. “An end-of-line test cycle

will check the function of the system under load, testing both

hydraulics and sensor connections, as well as contact patterns for the

gears, in addition to checking lubrication, temperature, pressure, and

noise and vibration levels,” explains Martin Knops, CTO of ZF Wind


The end-of-line test rig for ZF Wind Power will be delivered by R&D in

the fall of 2023. It conducts very energy-efficient load tests, powered

by the 15 MW generators of the powertrains, providing an impressive

18 MNm of torque to test the unit at high load levels. This final test

ensures that the powertrain and all its connections work as they

should, even when exposed to all forces of nature. “The end-of-line

test rig reduces mounting time by up to 90 percent which enables us

to test two powertrains a day. This is a win-win situation for us and

our partner Vestas,“ summarizes Martin Knops.

Answering the offshore growth: 15.0 MW powertrain in serial


Europe plans to become less dependent upon fossil fuels by 2030.

WindEurope explains that the EU needs to build an average of 31 GW

every year up to 2030 to stay on target. In 2022, Europe installed

19 GW of new wind power capacity, of which 2.5 GW were connected

to the grid across seven offshore wind farms.

REPowerEU, the EU’s new energy policy, has doubled down on the

expansion of offshore wind to help power Europe’s future energy

system. Currently, Europe’s installed offshore capacity stands at

30.3 GW. With new, more powerful turbines about to enter the market,

the average installed offshore wind turbines are expected to see their

power ratings increase from 2023 on. “With serial production of the

15 MW powertrain to commence in 2024, we will be able to support

our partner in the prompt delivery of offshore wind projects,“ explains

Felix Henseler. Thanks to the close partnership with Vestas, we are now

able to manufacture innovative powertrain models for offshore turbines

that can produce up to 80 GWh/year. This is the equivalent of the

annual electricity consumption of 20,000 households. “These models

will accelerate the shift from climate-damaging fuels towards clean,

renewable types of energy. We are proud to empower a sustainable

future together with our partners,” concludes Felix Henseler