Coal, Gas, Renewables

Wind Turbine Condition Monitoring

Issue 8 and Volume 116.

By Dane Overfield, Product Development Lead, Exele Information Systems

Every monitoring situation has challenges, yet wind turbine monitoring presents a unique list of challenges including extreme and varying environmental conditions, frequent load changes, and remote unmanned locations. The mechanical stresses placed upon wind turbines demand real-time monitoring for the recognition, notification and logging of failures as well as the prevention of future failures through predictive logic based on current monitored conditions and history.

Once you determine the abnormal turbine conditions that you wish to monitor and recognize, Exele TopView Software allows you to quickly and easily configure the real-time monitoring, event detection, notification, logging, reporting, and presentation of both measurement data and the abnormal condition events, using vendor neutral protocols and interfaces such as OPC and SQL as well as vendor specific interfaces like OSIsoft PI.

Current measurement and aggregate data monitoring

Condition monitoring requires the detection of abnormal events defined by the behavior of data, yet the required data may extend beyond the current measurements provided directly from instrumentation. Conditions may be defined by aggregated measurement values as well as aggregated event activity (e.g. event or alarm flooding).

Current measurement condition monitoring

Current measurement condition monitoring is the ability to monitor and recognize abnormal conditions of the current measurement values.

Aggregate data for condition monitoring

Aggregate data condition monitoring is the determination of abnormal conditions through the analysis of multiple values. The multiple values may be previously scanned values of a single measurement (recent history aggregate), or current values from multiple measurements.

Single measurement aggregates provides calculated results using recent history of a single measurement. Example: for data such as vibration that may have wide swings of current value measurements, TopView allows the user to monitor calculated results such as “5 minute average” or “10 minute standard deviation” by caching recent history and calculating the desired aggregate value.

Capabilities in the TopView condition monitoring software lets users set alarms, notify appropriate personnel when necessary, send data and alarm reports to remote locations, and do so using any of several transmission methods.
Capabilities in the TopView condition monitoring software lets users set alarms, notify appropriate personnel when necessary, send data and alarm reports to remote locations, and do so using any of several transmission methods.

Multiple measurement aggregates are calculated values based on the current value of multiple measurements. These aggregates allow you to monitor data such as summations of multiple measurements and differences between measurements. Example: monitor the total load of 5 turbines or the load difference between two turbines.

Aggregate event activity summarizes current and recent event activity as data values that can be monitored for abnormal behavior. These event statistics can be used to recognize higher level events such as “more than 5 turbines currently have abnormal vibration measurements” or “there have been more than 10 temperature alarms in the last hour”. Such situations may be difficult to recognize without the proper condition monitoring tools, yet they provide significant value by monitoring overall health of the condition monitoring system.

Recognizing abnormal conditions (alarms)

Once the current measurements and aggregates are available for monitoring, you can instruct TopView to recognize abnormal conditions of the data.

The abnormal events may signal a current alarm condition or warnings of potential alarms if the condition worsens.

In addition to recognizing unexpected values of the monitored data (greater than equal to, …) the conditions may include delays (exists for a period of time), deadbands, and blackout periods. Examples of abnormal conditions: temperature above threshold for 2 minutes, power output too low for speed, acoustic volume too high for 5 minutes, and 5-minute average vibration trending up for one hour.

O&M personnel can receive operations data and alarm reports on their smart phones. If they don’t respond to receipt of the message, and if so programmed, alarm notices can then be sent to additional personnel.
O&M personnel can receive operations data and alarm reports on their smart phones. If they don’t respond to receipt of the message, and if so programmed, alarm notices can then be sent to additional personnel.

Log and Notify

Once abnormal conditions (“alarms) are recognized, they are logged and optionally sent as notification messages to ensure that the appropriate personnel are aware of the condition.

Notifications can be sent through Email, SMS/text messages, pagers, and phones.

If recipients do not acknowledge receipt of the notification (via Email/SMS reply, phone keypad, …), the message can be escalated to additional personnel to ensure that notification messages are eventually received.

Displays, reports and analytics

In addition to notification at the time of the event, TopView provides multiple views of the monitored data and events.

A client application provides real-time displays of current values and alarms, audible signals of abnormal events, browsing of event history, and tools for performing event analysis (frequent alarm points, alarm flooding).

Alarm reports (event summaries over time) can be generated interactively or scheduled and emailed. Web-friendly HTML displays of current values and alarms can be stored, viewed, and published.

RSS feeds of events allow integration of event data into mobile devices and web pages.

Real-time monitoring of wind turbines poses a tremendous challenge for wind power producers. New software allows producers to monitor the condition of wind turbines in real time.
Real-time monitoring of wind turbines poses a tremendous challenge for wind power producers. New software allows producers to monitor the condition of wind turbines in real time.

Summary

Having the tools to successfully monitor abnormal wind turbine conditions, notify the appropriate personnel, and empower them to respond accordingly, can save a tremendous amount of time and money.

TopView’s breadth of features and ease of use provides a powerful and versatile do-it-yourself solution that has been proven successful across many industries including multiple wind farms.