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ZF Friedrichshafen AG and Schaeffler are not only important suppliers to the automotive industry, but also equip the wind power industry with drive trains and networked gearboxes. The two companies have now teamed up to develop a digital solution for monitoring the drive train of the wind turbines during operation. The plan is to use the continuously updated data to create a digital twin of the gearbox in order to help optimize energy production depending on the weather conditions. The software should also allow predictive maintenance, i.e. prediction of necessary maintenance work, as well as improving the gearbox’s utilization. ZF and Schaeffler want to increase the efficiency of the turbines and reduce downtimes.

ZF’s Industrial Technology Division is contributing to the project its wind turbine gearboxes, which currently supply more than 100 GW of electricity. Schaeffler is contributing its Smart EcoSystem to the partnership, a scalable IT infrastructure with a standardized interface and the option of encrypted data transmission via VPN.