Larry Jacobs/ Marketing and Sales Manager/North America/ Romax Technology/www.romaxtech.com
The U.S. wind industry is entering a transitional period in which more focus is placed on O&M strategies than expansion. One can easily see results in the attendance increase at various O&M conferences. Strategies that can make an impact in both operations (increased production) and maintenance (reduced costs) are constantly being evaluated and implemented. Managing drivetrain health is one area where strategy focus and implementation are critical to making an impact.
Some of the challenges facing site managers as they relate to O&M today include:
- Unexpected failures and downtime
- Unplanned maintenance costs
- Managing inventory and spare parts availability
- Managing data from many different sources, such as SCADA systems, condition monitoring systems, inspection reports, and software applications
Effective drivetrain health management requires input from many different data sources to analyze the condition of any one particular component and determine a best course of action. Drivetrain health management is the key to understanding the existing condition of drivetrain components and allows for predictive planning of maintenance activities.
Consider the illustration Anatomy of a failure. It’s one way to display data that presents itself throughout a failure process–from onset to catastrophic damage. Such data varies in type and quantity. For example, grease and oil samples may early on provide leading clues as to the nature of a failure but perhaps not enough to pinpoint a location or component. Vibration data can provide a more detailed analysis of a component failure early on in the process. SCADA data analysis and well-informed inspections can also be used to correlate this information. Effectively managing all the data sources can produce a well-informed action plan to minimize downtime and maximize production. Additionally, the ability to process all of this data within a single platform is a key advantage of these data sources.
Consider oil or grease analysis reports. They are typically reviewed upon receipt and perhaps filed away for future reference. However, a more effective means to process, analyze, and manage this data can identify outliers within the wind farm and be used to correlate with vibration data, gearbox manufacturers, and drivetrain configurations. Grease and trends chart shows that data from Romax’s InSight iDS software lubrication analysis module. All grease reports from a wind farm are processed, analysed, and displayed as trending parameters to easily identify outliers. Having the ability to process these sample reports into meaningful trending parameters with alarm capability, just like vibration analysis, is effectively managing your data. Additionally, correlating these trend results to other sources of data can give better insight into the failure mode.
The value of installing condition monitoring systems (CMS) on wind turbine drivetrains has been widely reported. The key to enabling a higher return on investment in CMS technologies is to use the value from other existing data sources. Enormous amounts of data from CMS, SCADA, inspections, and maintenance often exist in ‘siloed’ systems and are not typically processed or shared within a single platform. Only doing so fully realizes the value of data management.
For example, the illustration Correlating vibration and SCADA data shows how
vibration and SCADA temperature data can be used together to correlate the source of a failure mode and then confirm results of any maintenance activity performed to mitigate the failure. The failure mode is picked up early with vibration data while the SCADA temperature provides complimentary data later in the process. Vibration and temperatures return to normal after performing maintenance. A well-timed inspection can also corroborate this data analysis.
Managing data is a key strategy to managing O&M activities. With a large installed base of wind turbines nearing the end of warranty or locked in long-term service agreements, the challenge to reducing costs and increasing production are felt by operators and OEMs alike. A strategy that includes a universal platform to process and analyze data from multiple sources can contribute greatly to these initiatives. WPE
Filed Under: News, O&M