A Revised International Standard for Gearboxes in Wind Turbine Systems

Brian McNiff, Jonathan Keller, Alfredo Fernandez Sison, Jens Demtroder

Research output: NRELPresentation


Gearbox and wind turbine design and application standards have contributed significantly to improvements in reliability over the past two decades. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61400-4 standard of wind turbine gearbox design is currently being revised by a joint working group (JWG) of experts in IEC TC 88 (wind energy) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) TC60 (gears) to further that effort. Experts from ISO TC4 (rolling bearings) and ISO TC28 (lubricants) have actively participated. This revision has implemented lessons learned from industry use of edition 1 since its publication in 2012. The main document, IEC 61400-4, was pared down to essential design requirements and application-specific recommendations along with a design verification framework. The JWG leveraged concurrent development of other standards, such as IEC 61400-8 on wind turbine structures, to replace edition 1 content. These are described along with how this works with the IEC Renewable Energy certification scheme for wind turbines (IECRE-WE). The JWG recognized the interest in maintaining informative parts of edition 1 including annexes on wind turbine architecture and loads, bearing and gear arrangements, bearing selection, lubrication system descriptions and lubricant performance recommendations. This information was retained in two technical reports: IEC/TR 61400-4-2 Lubrication and IEC/TR 61400-4-3 Explanatory Notes. Additionally, a technical specification, IEC/TS 61400-4-1, was drafted to provide a reliability calculation method for comparing different design options or conditions. Salient elements of these documents are described. All four documents were recently distributed for IEC/ISO review, ballot, and comment. Publication is expected in 2023.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePresented at the Conference for Wind Power Drives 2023, 21-22 March 2023, Aachen, Germany

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5000-85561


  • gearbox
  • standard
  • testing
  • wind turbine


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