Renewable Wind/Tidal Energy turbine condition monitoring and predictive maintenance

HARTING has developed a rugged innovative Ultra High Frequency Radio Frequency Identification (UHF RFID) applied technology solution for continuous Wind/Tidal Energy turbine geared drive control condition monitoring and predictive maintenance.  The basic concept of this approach is to ensure that the temperature within the turbine gearbox is constantly monitored and maintained within certain pre-defined limits, indicating a fault status when they are exceeded and provide maintenance before a catastrophic breakdown condition can occur.

The HARTING solution involves it’s unique intelligent control EPC Class 1 Gen 2 ETB RFID passive transponder, which is used to generate the pre-set fault condition output, triggered at a set temperature through it’s integrated bimetallic digital input switch which is linked to a suitable resistive temperature sensor.  It therefore does not require any separate power source and is itself maintenance-free as a result.

The Embedded Transponder Base (ETB) is energised by the RF field generated, with the proximity of a HARTING RFID antenna that is constantly monitored by a small IP67 high vibration resistant RF-R3X0 Reader. This allows data collection, storage and transmission into the main turbine operating software control system.  As such, data can be continuously recorded and reviewed for on-going condition monitoring and fault conditions immediately raised within the operating system to predict maintenance needs.

Fig 1. Wind/Tidal turbine gearbox

All the above described components are designed for a very long lifetime in the typical harsh industrial environments of onshore wind or offshore wind/tidal energy operational conditions.  They can be mounted directly within the high vibration conditions of a turbine-control gearbox.  The key issue is to bring the data contactless from the rotating part, where the ETB transponders are fixed, to the fix part of the gearbox.  High speed rotation conditions are achievable.

In conclusion such technology can help to extend the operational life of the key Wind/Tidal turbine control systems and also simplify existing managed maintenance plans and processes and hence significantly save costs in this expensive application environment.

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