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Wind Turbine Parts: An Overview

Wind turbines are a crucial aspect of renewable energy production. The reliability and efficiency of these machines is critical to ensuring that wind power remains a viable and cost-effective source of energy. 

To achieve this, wind turbines are made up of various components, each with their own unique role to play in the turbine’s operation to ensure its efficiency and reliability. In this article, we'll provide an overview of how wind turbines work and list the most important wind turbine parts, outlining their functions.

At BGB, we remain at the forefront of wind turbine technology, offering wind turbine components to operate your wind energy projects safely and efficiently. We work with major wind turbine manufacturers such as Vestas, GE, Siemens Gamesa (S&G) and many other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).


How do Wind Turbines Work?

Wind turbines operate by capturing the kinetic energy of the wind and converting it into rotational energy that can be used to generate electricity. The rotor blades of the wind turbine are designed to collect the energy of the wind and convert it into a rotational motion. As the blades rotate, they drive a shaft that is connected to a gearbox, which increases the rotational speed of the shaft.

The high-speed shaft is connected to a generator, which converts the rotational energy into electrical energy. The control systems of the wind turbine monitor and regulate the operation of the machine, adjusting the blade pitch and yaw to optimise energy capture under different wind conditions. 


Rotor Blades

The rotor blades are the most visible parts of a wind turbine. Their primary role is to capture the kinetic energy of the wind and convert it into rotational energy. 

The rotor blades must be designed to maximise the amount of energy captured while minimising drag and turbulence. The most common materials used in the construction of rotor blades are fibreglass, carbon fibre and wood, which offer the combination of strength, stiffness and low weight.


Blade Pitch Control System

The blade pitch control system is responsible for adjusting the angle of the rotor blades to optimise their performance under varying wind conditions. This system consists of hydraulic or electric actuators that can rotate the blades around their longitudinal axis. 

In high winds, the pitch control system can adjust the blade angle to reduce their surface area, limiting the amount of energy they capture and preventing damage to the turbine. 


Yaw System 

The yaw system adjusts and orientates the wind turbine rotor blades into the direction of the wind. This involves a motorised yaw drive that can rotate the entire nacelle and rotor assembly around a vertical axis.

It’s important that the yaw system is able to respond quickly and accurately to changes in wind direction, to ensure that the rotor blades remain aligned with the wind.



The nacelle is a large, box-shaped structure that houses the turbine's generator, gearbox and other key components. It is typically mounted on top of the wind turbine tower and is designed to protect the sensitive components from harsh outdoor elements.

The nacelle also contains various sensors and control systems that monitor the performance of the turbine and adjust its operation accordingly. 



The gearbox increases the rotational speed of the turbine's rotor to drive the generator at the required speed. It usually consists of a set of gears and bearings that transmit the torque from the rotor to the generator.

Gearboxes are carefully designed and manufactured to withstand the high stresses and loads that are placed on them during the turbine’s operation.



The generator is the wind turbine component responsible for converting the rotational energy into electrical energy. Most wind turbines use either a permanent magnet generator or an induction generator.

Permanent magnet generators tend to be more efficient and require less maintenance than induction generators, but they are also more expensive.


Control Systems

The control systems of a wind turbine monitor and regulate the whole operation. These systems typically consist of a combination of hardware and software components that work together to ensure that the turbine operates safely and efficiently.

They can also adjust the blade pitch, yaw and other variables to optimise energy capture under different wind conditions.


Rotary Union

A rotary union allows the transfer of hydraulic or pneumatic power and signals between the stationary and rotating parts of the machine. A rotary union consists of a stationary housing and a rotating shaft that are connected by a series of seals that prevent fluid or air leaks. The rotary union enables the transfer of power and signals to the blade pitch control system and the yaw system. 

For further information, check out our recent article on rotary unions.


Wind Turbine Slip Rings

Wind turbine slip rings are an important component that enables the transfer of electrical power between the stationary and rotating parts. A slip ring consists of a stationary brush assembly and a rotating ring assembly that are connected by a series of conductive elements. The slip ring enables the transfer of electrical power and signals to components such as the generator and control systems.

For more information on what slip rings are and how they work, check out our recent article


Lightning Protection

Wind turbines are often located in areas that are prone to lightning strikes, and as such, they must be equipped with appropriate lightning protection systems. Lightning protection systems typically consist of lightning rods or other conductive elements that are designed to intercept lightning strikes and direct the electrical energy harmlessly to the ground.



In conclusion, wind turbines are complex machines that rely on a wide range of components to operate reliably and efficiently. The rotor blades, blade pitch control system, yaw system, nacelle, gearbox and generator are all critical wind turbine parts that must be carefully designed and manufactured to ensure that the wind turbine operates safely and efficiently. 

In addition to these components, rotary unions and slip rings are also essential for the transfer of power and signals between the stationary and rotating parts of the machine. By understanding the functions of each part, wind turbine operators can ensure that their machines operate properly and safely, providing clean, renewable energy for years to come.

As well as having a thorough understanding of each part, keeping up with maintenance, service and repairs are also vital to keeping wind turbines operating at their optimal performance levels. Wind turbines are subject to various operational stresses and environmental factors that can cause wear and tear on their components over time. Therefore, it is crucial to have a comprehensive service and repair plan in place.

Scheduled maintenance includes inspections and replacement of components as necessary. These routine checks help to identify any potential issues before they escalate into major problems, ensuring that the turbines continue to generate electricity efficiently. 


At BGB, we specialise in the design and manufacture of high-quality wind turbine parts, including rotary unions and slip rings. We also offer lightning protection systems and other components that are essential for the safe and efficient operation of wind turbines. Get in touch with our team of rotary experts to learn more about how we can help you achieve maximum efficiency and performance in your wind energy projects.

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