UpWind’s Performance Engineering provides a comprehensive predictive maintenance approach for extending the life of wind projects and increasing turbine performance. Performance Engineering includes predicting remaining life of critical components and optimizing turbine production. Root-cause analysis, condition monitoring and vortex generators are all technologies that we employ to deliver a reliable project.
Delivering a reliable, high availability wind farm is the focus of UpWind’s performance engineering service. In support of our technician’s expertise, we provide analysis and early identification of problems prior to failure through the following:
The combination of the above methods are used to detect the condition and remaining life of major components of a wind turbine as listed below:
Through monitoring the major turbine components, owners of wind farms have realized the following benefits:
“Figure 1 – UpWind Insight process for detecting temperature anomalies on major components”
UpWind Insight uses industry leading technology to optimize the production of a wind project, including:
UpWind Insight uses a standard and rigorous approach to identifying un-reliable components and re-specifying the components for longer life. These techniques include:
These techniques indicate which components are the greatest source of production losses. UpWind actively implements testing program for identifying alternative sources and designs for small, frequently failing parts. UpWind has replaced alternative designs for:
While checking the condition of the gearbox through the vibration data, UpWind’s team noticed that one turbine was swaying across the wind. If all the blades and yaw system are properly aligned, the turbine will only sway back and forth into the wind in response to the thrust load.
The technicians climbed the turbine looking for evidence of blade and yaw misalignment, and found that one blade had been misaligned by several degrees. The net impact of correcting the blade alignment reduced the loading on the excessive loading blade, main bearing and gearbox, as well as improved the power performance of the turbine. The turbine production increased by 25% after correcting the mis-calibrated turbine. The figure below shows the improvement in turbine power curve after the blade was correctly aligned.
The ability to create value from data depends entirely on what you collect, how well you collect it, the accuracy of that data, the insights you gain from analyzing that data and what you do with the information. Data is useless without the ability to convert it into valuable information and meaningful action.
At UpWind, we’ve spent the past three years looking at this challenge and working on solutions that can make us better and enable us to offer better solutions to our customers. Our focus is always on three simple things …more production, lower OPEX, longer asset life.
We developed the product UpWind Insight™ as our structure for collecting, aggregating, organizing, understanding and sharing knowledge (data) across our organization, making it available in the field and to our customers. We’re open with this data because we believe it makes us better, makes our customers more successful and ultimately drives long term asset performance improvements.
Collecting and applying Big Data on a wind farm comes down to five key steps:
It’s like putting an encyclopedia in the hands of the technician, giving an engineer an equivalent to CAD instead of pen and paper for advanced performance analysis, and placing a sure bet on a future event when you already know the outcome.
UpWind’s Performance Engineering is capable of providing four different reports to its customers. Performance Engineering provides customers with a monthly contractual report using UpWind’s Historian data to track production, availability and turbine downtime and technicians in the field who report quality, safety and major maintenance. The figures below show how turbine downtime can be presented visually using a heat map and defined metrics:
Depending on contractual agreements, Performance Engineering provides the following reports to its customers: a monthly performance report, a bi-weekly vibration analysis report and an oil analysis report delivered on an ad hoc basis.
The performance report hones in on gearbox and generator component issues determined by a series of temperature plots produced using data from UpWind’s Historian. Performance Engineering provides a summary of recommendations to prevent major component failure based on outliers shown in these plots, their experience with wind turbines and by communicating with technicians in the field.
UpWind’s Performance Engineering remotely monitors the vibrations from several wind turbine farms, analyzes the data, diagnoses the health of their machinery, and provides actionable recommendations based on the information learned and their experience with wind turbines. These conclusions provide owners with the data they need to make sound decisions regarding the condition and proper maintenance of their investments.
Oil sample analysis is performed to test and monitor the condition of the oil as well as the wind turbine equipment. UpWind’s technicians in the field take multiple oil samples during a condensed period of time and Performance Engineering analyzes these samples to evaluate the fundamental properties of the oil and to determined how to enhance its efficacy to perform the desired functions.
UpWind Analytics is a comprehensive software and hardware package to deliver actionable turbine data to operators quickly and conveniently and used by our performance engineering team for improving asset performance, minimizing downtime, and avoiding costs from unforeseen equipment failures. Diverse turbine technologies are supported and combined with data from service records, parts usage, weather and meteorological, vibration, and substation / meter data to provide a good understanding of the behavior of the turbines and where improvement opportunities might exist. Where appropriate data is categorized with GADS codes, to support customer needs for specific report types.
UpWind leverages the tools within our Analytics package to operate the wind farms under our stewardship with ever improving performance, and to generate reports containing actionable information to our site teams as well as to our customers. We are able to identify and report on anomalies in the data, outliers, and general inconsistencies in the behavior of one turbine as compared to other turbines at the site as well as compare against other like turbines in our fleet. As our fleet as grown, and the longer we have had our Historians in place has enabled us to leverage larges amounts for data for purposes of root-cause analysis of events, and other projects including the prediction of events and how we might avoid them.
Our most valuable resource is our technicians in the field. We have a suite of tools targeted at making our technicians as efficient as possible, arming them with the data, the tools, and the technology to allow them to reduce the down time of the turbines under their care and return to service turbines that fault or need repairs. The suite includes an Inspections app to facilitate rapid and frequent quality checklists, submission of safety forms, different forms of observations, as well as more intricate inspections performed such as End-Of-Warranty Inspections, Blade Inspections, etc.
Task assignments and time tracking is another application in the suite. It reduces the amount of time spent by our technicians performing administrative tasks, and gets them into the turbines earlier in the work shift, and leaving them more time taking care of the turbines. It also provides our site leadership with data to pursue Lean Six-Sigma type projects to make their sites more efficient.
Most of the tools and applications within the suite reside on a smart phone, putting them in the hand of our technicians wherever they might be, including up tower or hanging on a rope next to a blade.
ISP vs OEM eBook
An independent service provider can indeed match and outperform the OEM when it comes to post warranty O&M services. You will learn the differences between an ISP and OEM and the value of assuming more control over your wind assets.
One year ago we published our first Vortex Generator (VG) case study based on limited data. Now, after installing 22,000 VGs and a year's worth of data, what have we learned?
“UpWind’s O&M service offering ranks in the highest capability range of any O&M service provider” DNV GL Capabilities Assessment 07.08.2014
“When we need more knowledge, we call UpWind” Erik Homen - AES Wind Generation, Lead Technician
“This is a great report. Thank you for sending this. It is very helpful. This is exactly what we were looking for.” Josh Fausset Manager Renewable Energy, OGE Energy Corp
“It is considered that UpWind’s parts management and inventory is consistent with industry best practices.” DNV GL Capabilities Assessment 07.08.2014