Wind Power Industry

Wind Power IndustryWith the growing emphasis on the use of wind energy to provide a higher percentage of electricity consumption worldwide Hansford Sensors has found this developing market an excellent opportunity to promote the use of industrial accelerometers or vibration transmitters.

The rotating parts of wind turbine generators need to be continuously monitored to warn of bearing and component wear. As wind turbines are frequently installed in remote locations with high costs incurred when there are any failures, it is vital to be able to determine potential problems before they occur so that remedial action can be taken.

Hansford Sensors has approached this market with various products dependant on the end user and OEM requirements and has supplied many thousands of industrial accelerometers or transmitters worldwide to power providers and speciality wind turbine monitoring companies.

Monitoring low frequency tower movement

Before detailing the equipment that has been installed, we need to cover the technical requirements and installation issues that can be encountered in wind turbine applications. As a general rule each turbine has eight accelerometers installed; typically these are improved response, low frequency versions of our HS-100 family, the HS-100SF, for monitoring the lower movement (low frequency tower movement). The accelerometers, dependant on the customer requirements, have been either all 100mV/g or in some examples are higher sensitivity units, either 250 or 500mV/g. These are for monitoring the low speed aspects of the generator, for example, output shafts.

Quick-fit integral armoured cable

Wind Power IndustryWith regard to the type of accelerometer, the HS-100 family has been used in various projects with the options of integral armoured cable and quick-fit and also the M12 side entry version is popular, with separate M12 cable assemblies of various lengths being supplied as part of the package. Mounting techniques vary and are dependant on each project. In new OEM builds, most of our units are supplied with M8 mounting. The mounting will be prepared for the spot face and then drilled to M8. In the projects that have been retro-fitted, due to warranty issues, many of them have been installed using glue pads.

Many projects include a local junction box (HS-JE), which accommodates the accelerometer cabling at the top of the wind turbine and then, dependant on the exact configuration, multi-core cable will be connected and fed back down to ground level for termination into the monitoring system or switch box.

Multi-core connected sensors

In applications where it is difficult to justify the expenditure of a full on-line system, some wind farms use a lower cost option with fixed vibration sensors (HS-100 Series) mounted as previously described, with a local junction box and multi-core cables connected to a switchbox on the ground. They then have either a local contract vibration analysis company to take readings or alternatively, the wind farm owner has a vibration analysis team to take regular readings. The latter method is only as good as the last reading that was taken. However, is a good approach as when budget becomes available this can be expanded into an on-line system by replacing the switch box with a monitoring station that is capable of providing in-depth vibration analysis using FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) with remote web access.

At Hansford Sensors we supply many thousands of industrial accelerometers or vibration transmitters to both end users and OEM manufacturers of wind turbines and turbine monitoring systems.  Some of these projects have also involved bespoke designs. In these projects the Hansford Sensors team has applied its extensive knowledge of vibration monitoring to the application, working closely with each customer to provide an appropriate technical solution at a cost effective price.

Further reading:

Technical article: A guide to sustainability

Technical article: Minimising wind turbine maintenance

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