Operators of hydraulic and lubrication equipment are paying more attention to oil contamination. On the one hand, more value is being placed on well-thought-out, high grade filters. And on the other hand, more attention is being paid to monitoring the oil’s cleanliness. In the case of high-value machinery, such as a gearbox up in a turbine nacelle, the trend is away from periodic checks on oil quality to a system of on-line monitoring. A benefit of continuous monitoring is that system changes are immediately displayed.
Early evidence of emerging faults let maintenance personnel repair or purchase of spare parts in good time. This usually leads to substantial cost savings.
Until now it has not been possible to carry out on-line monitoring of oil contamination in gearboxes because when gear splash lube oil it mixes with a high proportion of air. Automatic particle counters measure the air as if it were solid particles, giving false results. In the case of high value or inaccessible gearboxes, as they would be in offshore wind turbines, the need for on-line monitoring is especially acute.
Argo-Hytos’ OPCom Bubble Suppression module includes a particle counter, pump, and pressure relief valve that monitors transmission oil for its cleanliness on an on-line basis. The pump with pressure-relief valve forces oil through the particle monitor at high pressure. Air bubbles are so compressed they do not affect the measurement. Data is transferred several ways. A serial interface RS232 is standard while optional methods include analogue outputs of 0 to 5 V, RS-485, and a query via GSM modem.
Filed Under: Components, Hydraulics