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Smart monitoring and IIoT tech boost uptime

Smart monitoring and IIoT tech boost uptime

Operators of onshore wind turbines are always looking to maximise power output and profitability. Therefore, any tool that can reduce turbine maintenance requirements and improve reliability is incredibly useful. To deliver these benefits, Altra Renewables has employed Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology to provide smart monitoring of onshore wind turbine braking systems, which improves turbine reliability while simultaneously increasing uptime.

The profitability of any onshore wind turbine is directly tied to its ability to generate power. Any unforeseen breakdowns not only incur maintenance costs, but also lost energy output. Furthermore, maintenance is often challenging. Onshore wind turbines are usually located in remote areas. Key systems such as the brakes are inside the nacelle at the top of the tower, which can be 100 metres high. As a result, equipment is hard to access, and often has to be serviced at height. These challenges can increase the time and cost of maintenance, especially in emergency breakdown situations, further compromising power output and profitability. Reducing maintenance requirements and increasing reliability is therefore key for these installations.

To help operators of onshore wind turbines, Altra Renewables provides 24/7 smart monitoring solutions that combine IIoT and data mining technologies to improve turbine uptime.

A suite of sensors monitoring the braking system provides data on a variety of parameters such as system pressure, brake pad wear, brake position, brake piston, brake fluid levels and temperature. This data is then uploaded to the cloud, where Big Data analytics is carried out by artificial intelligence (AI) to provide accurate diagnosis on the condition of key components, and crucially, to predict any potential reliability risks well in advance of failure.

Unforeseen breakdowns

Consequently, operators can eliminate unforeseen breakdowns and their costly repercussions. More than that, data insights can inform long-term preventative maintenance strategy, ensuring that particular brake components can be highlighted for repair or replacement at the optimum time. The system even offers a functionality where maintenance tasks can be ordered in terms of time criticality.

The IIoT solution can be installed on any existing or new Svendborg Brakes system for permanent condition monitoring. The hardware required consists of either the in-house developed Svendborg Brakes Gateway or the SOBO iQ (Soft Braking Option) braking system, both in collaboration with a high security cloud gateway for a secure connection to the cloud. If a non-permanent condition monitoring solution is needed, such as for commissioning or troubleshooting, the Universal Control (UC) Case, developed by leading Altra Renewables brand Svendborg Brakes, provides this functionality for wind turbine brakes. Contained in a compact, lightweight case, the UCCase can remotely access data from wind turbines and enable direct online intervention from technicians to aid maintenance work.

Easily operated by a technician with general training, the UCCase uploads data to the Cloud to allow in-depth analysis of the braking system. Importantly for wind turbine operators, the UCCase delivers up to a 90% service cost saving when compared to the expenses of transporting a technician to the installation. Furthermore, it offers a distinct advantage in terms of time, adding further value. The tool is suitable for use on all Svendborg Brakes standard and SOBO (Soft Braking Option) braking systems.

Maximising wind turbine uptime

By combining condition monitoring, IIoT technology and in-depth AI data analysis to provide real-time insights and predictions, Altra Renewables delivers the dual benefits of reducing turbine maintenance requirements while eliminating unforeseen breakdowns. For onshore wind turbine operators, this means that turbine uptime and reliability can be improved simultaneously. This not only delivers an increase in profitability due to maximised power generation, but also a maintenance cost advantage generally.

Maximising the benefits of green power generation relies on making environmentally friendly technologies such as onshore wind turbines as reliable and profitable as possible. With advances in IIoT technology, operators now have the tools to capitalise, keeping turbines running for longer, all while reducing downtime.

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