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Conference programme 

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Poster session

Lead Session Chair:
Stephan Barth, Managing Director, ForWind - Center for Wind Energy Research, Germany
Marc Hilbert RWTH Aachen University, Germany
Marc Hilbert (1) F P
(1) RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

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Presenter's biography

Biographies are supplied directly by presenters at OFFSHORE 2015 and are published here unedited

Marc Hilbert received the Dipl.-Ing. degree in mechatronic engineering in the Dresden Technical University, Germany, in 2009. From 2009 to 2011, he was with the System Department Operation and Control, Nordex Energy GmbH, as a Development Engineer for Condition Monitoring Systems and Automation. Since 2011 he is a Ph.D. candidate at the RWTH Aachen University. His research is related to monitoring and diagnostics of heavy machinery.


Novel drivetrain monitoring by utilizing emerging industrial built-in vibration sensors.


Wind turbine (WT) drive train monitoring presents an absolute necessity. In fact, monitoring the condition of mechanical components such as bearings and gears can reduce OPEX and result in lower costs of energy. This effect can be shown for offshore WTs in particular. Taking a closer look at modern offshore WT gearboxes, such as Vestas V164-8.0 and Senvion 6.2M152 they use large planetary gear stages, mainly because of their high power density.


To improve overall condition monitoring results of mechanical components, built-in vibration sensors systems were developed specifically for requirements of the industry such as SKF InsightTM. With this built-in technology sensors are directly integrated in mechanical components such as bearings and gears. But also other markets such as aerospace and machine tools have developed industrial built-in vibration sensors for condition monitoring purposes.
But what are the challenges and drawbacks by using this built-in monitoring technology in an offshore wind turbine gearbox compared to state-of-the-art vibration measurements on the gearbox housing? Can the utilization improve condition monitoring results and reduce OPEX?

Main body of abstract

This work will provide substantial knowledge by describing and testing a method that covers these challenges of built-in vibration sensors on condition monitoring of a wind turbine planetary gear, especially the planet meshing and the planet bearing. Therefor a wireless vibration sensor was mounted on a planet gear carrier. The vibrations inside the gearbox on the planet carrier were measured with an acceleration sensor and transmitted wireless to a receiver outside of the gearbox during operation. The research and test runs were carried out using state of the art multi-megawatt wind turbine gearboxes. Two different scenarios were tested; one gearbox in normal conditions and one gearbox with an inner ring planet bearing fault. Several operation scenarios such as full load, speed and start-up were tested. It was demonstrated that because the sensor is installed on the rotating machine part, it can be placed close to the vibration source e.g. gear meshing. Measuring the vibration directly on the planet gear carrier enables the use of conventional analysis methods to monitor the bearings of the planets. This will provide more reliable results of the condition just as with conventional condition monitoring systems currently possible.


However, as a result of these exemplary measurements, so far not foreseen challenges need to be pointed out which were not an issue for conventional vibration measurements placed on the gearbox housing. These challenges involve placement of the sensors and influences of the inside conditions of the gearboxes. They need to be addressed before using the novel technology of built-in vibration measurements.

Learning objectives
Because the research is driven by a university the overriding goal is to share the results, to analyze and test the utilization of industrial built-in vibration sensors in the wind industry from a neutral point of view.