• Keeping your Wind Turbine Reliable

    15 January 2018

    ETLG Inertial Aerosystems: The demand for clean, renewable energy is only increasing as new technology solutions emerge such as electric cars on the streets and low carbon power solutions to homes etc. Clean energy is powering the future and wind is a key source of power for many communities.

    The Need for Preventative Maintenance
    Wind turbines are now a common feature of our landscape in response to the demand for clean energy, but how can we ensure these massive structures live a long, healthy life? Engineers must add precision components to their designs that will provide preventative maintenance capabilities. Adding these additional components may increase costs upfront, but the costs of repair and downtime due to malfunction can be far more damaging.

    How To Avoid Malfunction & Downtime
    Accelerometers can be implemented into the turbine to monitor the vibration content of the rotary bearings. They can record the vibration profile of the bearing when it is new and then monitor this profile as a function of time to detect changes in the vibration signature.  When there is an inconsistency in the vibration profile, the accelerometer will measure this and relay the readings to a vibrational spectrum analyzer that will alert engineers that something is amiss.

    Which Accelerometer Type Can Monitor Turbines
    Since the blades of a turbine move relatively slowly, this creates low level vibration of a few hundred hertz. Because of this level of vibration, a piezo accelerometer will not necessarily be needed. With a bandwidth from DC to 400 Hz, MEMS capacitive accelerometers are suitable solutions for measuring the vibration of these rotors. These sensors are also lower cost than other solutions, particularly in large volumes.

    Turbine Tilt
    Another preventative maintenance solution is tilt monitoring. Due to erratic weather patterns, climate or even shifting sediment, particularly offshore, the base of the turbine will also need monitoring to ensure its stability over the course of its lifetime. The turbine base can be equipped with precise and rugged inclinometers.