The long-term development partnership of Schaeffler and Bonfiglioli, provider in yaw and pitch drives for wind turbines, has lead to the creation of a compact Industry 4.0 solution package. Schaeffler has combined two of its proven measuring systems, the SmartCheck and the TorqueSense, to create a new condition and torque-monitoring system.
While the vibration diagnosis system of the Schaeffler SmartCheck detects incipient damage at a very early stage, peak loads as well as their frequency can now also be detected and limited using the precise torque signal. Using algorithms that are based on their application expertise, Bonfiglioli is able to convert such data into information throughout the entire lifetime of a wind turbine. Online reporting on relevant performance indicators is provided (including the general “health” status of the geared drives, possible critical conditions, and abnormal behavior of the yaw systems).
In total, customers benefit from reduced unplanned downtimes as a result of overloading or unexpected operational conditions of the system and load-based (i.e. generally longer) maintenance intervals due to predictive monitoring.
A clever combination
The Schaeffler SmartCheck device performs frequency-selective condition monitoring of bearings, gearboxes, electric motors, pumps, fans, and machines based on solid-borne vibrations. Conspicuous frequencies can be automatically attributed to the damaged component using only one Schaeffler SmartCheck. A temperature sensor is also integrated into the device. The torque signal and speed signal of the Schaeffler TorqueSense are sent, preprocessed and supplied to the machine control system and/or maintenance department with the vibration signals that are also analyzed via the SmartCheck.
The addition of operating data on torque and speed to the SmartCheck condition-monitoring system opens up several new scenarios. In the simplest case, the system allows the monitoring of torque peaks and their frequency, and an evaluation of the utilization level and the derivation of load-based maintenance measures. The signals can also be integrated into the operating strategy for drives and initiate torque limitation or shutdown functions.
The new system is particularly suitable for adjustment and rotary drives in the wind power industry, in large cranes, and certain construction machinery. The torque signal can be used for monitoring and smooth and precise torque control and regulation of the pull cable.
Pilot project for wind
Schaeffler is currently developing an initial pilot project for Bonfiglioli’s geared motors of yaw drives for wind turbines. In this application, the load data that are condensed using the Schaeffler SmartCheck are compared with predefined limit values and the results are transmitted wirelessly to Bonfiglioli via a gateway. The monitoring system for Bonfiglioli geared motors operates independently and is not connected with the turbine’s control system, making it very easy to retrofit when the geared motors are replaced.
With the new system, Bonfiglioli aims to monitor overloading of the yaw drives, increase the lead times for maintenance, and make it possible to define load-based instead of time-dependent maintenance procedures. The TorqueSense module is positioned between the motor and gearbox to integrate it into the flow of force of the geared motor. The measurement system is also fully functional in lubricating oil and offers significant advantages for integration into the drive train such as: