Outsourcing monitoring of wind turbines is the solution to O&M cost control

Insight Article, 

It is well documented that up to 75% of the operational expenditure for a large wind farm is typically related to the site’s O&M function. To be competitive in terms of the commercial cost per kilowatt hour of electric power generated, every detail of O&M needs to be made as efficient as possible.

The most challenging aspect for many wind farm operators – and one that adds very significantly to their cost of operations – is the unpredictability of turbine failures. As a result, O&M activities are highly reactive and production downtime inevitably results when replacement parts, maintenance crews and site access are unavailable when required.

For this reason, wind farm operators are seeking to generate additional value through the efficiencies and reduced costs of operation that health monitoring solutions can bring; enabling a more proactive and planned approach to wind farm O&M.

Whether you are in or out of warranty, there is much benefit from being able to have sight of your wind farms health, individually or by fleet. In managing and scheduling the maintenance of turbines in order to put into place a strategy and gain control of potentially spiralling costs.

Over the last few years, Romax has been developing their independent suite of tools to monitor wind turbines – the Romax InSight, a suite of health management solutions – a combination of revolutionary technology and services that provide early warning of upcoming wind turbine failures.

InSight allows its users to collate and integrate data from many sources to provide a full health picture that can be easily understood. This technology is now being used by other companies to provide solutions to owners and operators to proactively take control of its fleet maintenance and ensure maximum uptime and revenue with minimum cost.

 

Infigen Energy, owner and operator of 24 wind farms across USA and Australia have chosen the Romax Insight solution to provide a complete and independent view of its fleet condition at all times.

James Snelson is senior mechanical engineer for Infigen Energy “We own and operate a mixed fleet including GE, Vestas and Gamesa turbines in addition to the 81 Siemens units that we have chosen to work on with Romax in order to provide a fully transparent, third-party condition monitoring solution. These turbines achieved first commercial operation in 2007 and are now post-warranty.”

Infigen evaluated a number of third party external suppliers before choosing Romax. James Snelson: “I selected Romax because I felt very confident that they could do the job best. They clearly had expertise and a knowledge base head and shoulders above other potential suppliers. Another major plus was their level of communication, openness, willingness to collaborate and enthusiasm to drill down to the root cause of any problems. Romax has done a lot on its own dime to show to us that they can add value.”

“My approach to condition monitoring is that it’s not always an opportune time to take a turbine off-line and do a component change-out. Our goal is to identify these failures before they happen, monitor them and manage demand to extend life where necessary. We can then proactively manage maintenance by having cranes and crews ready at a convenient time. This saves turbine downtime and reduces asset management costs. You can only do this with a good knowledge of turbine health across your fleet and Romax have really helped us achieve that.”

Supplier selection: Romax excellence

Infigen evaluated a number of third party external suppliers before choosing Romax. James Snelson: “I selected Romax because I felt very confident that they could do the job best. They clearly had expertise and a knowledge base head and shoulders above other potential suppliers. Another major plus was their level of communication, openness, willingness to collaborate and enthusiasm to drill down to the root cause of any problems. Romax has done a lot on its own dime to show to us that they can add value.”

Proof of concept

In order to build confidence, Infigen requested that Romax carry out a sweep of its Siemens fleet in order to identify any insipient problems. During this work which was carried out in early 2012, one of the turbines was identified as having a failing main bearing. The advanced notification provided Infigen with the opportunity to monitor and manage its operational strategy for the turbine, and plan for the maintenance rather than reacting to the failure, as Snelson recalls: “We were able to schedule this work with other work being performed on the site to help reduce downtime and costs associated with the main bearing change out.”

Data transparency: OEM versus third party monitoring

Largely due to the age of its turbine fleet, Infigen has relied on the OEM for data and in some cases the transparency was not adequate. Snelson believes that monitoring capability delivered from the turbine OEM does not always provide the transparency of data required for truly efficient wind farm maintenance. “There is real value in being able to access and manage condition monitoring data ourselves with an independent solution. This gives us much better visibility of the health of our turbines than when under manufacturer warranty. While OEMs are becoming more open in their approach, the ability to carry out root cause analysis and cross-fleet predictive maintenance is more limited than when you have control over your own data. Romax has been key in helping us gain this control.”

Next steps with Romax

In addition to providing predictive health monitoring of their turbine fleet, InSight will help Infigen Energy assess the comparative performance of the wind farm, allowing production outliers to be identified. This will help Infigen to both resolve operational issues and manage turbine demand and loading, so for example, protecting those positioned in regions of more intense wind from excessive loading and wear.

Snelson has high hopes of the relationship with Romax and of the potential benefits that large-scale turbine health monitoring will bring for Infigen. “My expectations will continue to be very high, especially on the technical front because I know the quality of people that Romax has working on this project – they’re great engineers and the bar has been set high for them; but it’s been set mainly by Romax.”

Infigen is the latest company in a growing number who are beginning to recognise the power of knowledge bought to them through the InSight software from across the world. Harnessing knowledge in an understandable way from your wind turbines BIG data and being able to use this to determine a strategic maintenance plan that significantly reduces costs whilst ensuring gearbox reliability is maximised is a no brainer.

For more information on InSight and the software and services of Romax please visit: http://www.romaxtech.com/products/insight.aspx

Insight Article, August 2013

Outsourcing monitoring of wind turbines is the solution to O&M cost control

It is well documented that up to 75% of the operational expenditure for a large wind farm is typically related to the site’s O&M function. To be competitive in terms of the commercial cost per kilowatt hour of electric power generated, every detail of O&M needs to be made as efficient as possible.

The most challenging aspect for many wind farm operators – and one that adds very significantly to their cost of operations – is the unpredictability of turbine failures. As a result, O&M activities are highly reactive and production downtime inevitably results when replacement parts, maintenance crews and site access are unavailable when required.

For this reason, wind farm operators are seeking to generate additional value through the efficiencies and reduced costs of operation that health monitoring solutions can bring; enabling a more proactive and planned approach to wind farm O&M.

Whether you are in or out of warranty, there is much benefit from being able to have sight of your wind farms health, individually or by fleet. In managing and scheduling the maintenance of turbines in order to put into place a strategy and gain control of potentially spiralling costs.

Over the last few years, Romax has been developing their independent suite of tools to monitor wind turbines – the Romax InSight, a suite of health management solutions – a combination of revolutionary technology and services that provide early warning of upcoming wind turbine failures.

InSight allows its users to collate and integrate data from many sources to provide a full health picture that can be easily understood. This technology is now being used by other companies to provide solutions to owners and operators to proactively take control of its fleet maintenance and ensure maximum uptime and revenue with minimum cost.

 

 

Infigen Energy, owner and operator of 24 wind farms across USA and Australia have chosen the Romax Insight solution to provide a complete and independent view of its fleet condition at all times.

James Snelson is senior mechanical engineer for Infigen Energy “We own and operate a mixed fleet including GE, Vestas and Gamesa turbines in addition to the 81 Siemens units that we have chosen to work on with Romax in order to provide a fully transparent, third-party condition monitoring solution. These turbines achieved first commercial operation in 2007 and are now post-warranty.”

Infigen evaluated a number of third party external suppliers before choosing Romax. James Snelson: “I selected Romax because I felt very confident that they could do the job best. They clearly had expertise and a knowledge base head and shoulders above other potential suppliers. Another major plus was their level of communication, openness, willingness to collaborate and enthusiasm to drill down to the root cause of any problems. Romax has done a lot on its own dime to show to us that they can add value.”

“My approach to condition monitoring is that it’s not always an opportune time to take a turbine off-line and do a component change-out. Our goal is to identify these failures before they happen, monitor them and manage demand to extend life where necessary. We can then proactively manage maintenance by having cranes and crews ready at a convenient time. This saves turbine downtime and reduces asset management costs. You can only do this with a good knowledge of turbine health across your fleet and Romax have really helped us achieve that.”

Supplier selection: Romax excellence

Infigen evaluated a number of third party external suppliers before choosing Romax. James Snelson: “I selected Romax because I felt very confident that they could do the job best. They clearly had expertise and a knowledge base head and shoulders above other potential suppliers. Another major plus was their level of communication, openness, willingness to collaborate and enthusiasm to drill down to the root cause of any problems. Romax has done a lot on its own dime to show to us that they can add value.”

Proof of concept

In order to build confidence, Infigen requested that Romax carry out a sweep of its Siemens fleet in order to identify any insipient problems. During this work which was carried out in early 2012, one of the turbines was identified as having a failing main bearing. The advanced notification provided Infigen with the opportunity to monitor and manage its operational strategy for the turbine, and plan for the maintenance rather than reacting to the failure, as Snelson recalls: “We were able to schedule this work with other work being performed on the site to help reduce downtime and costs associated with the main bearing change out.”

Data transparency: OEM versus third party monitoring

Largely due to the age of its turbine fleet, Infigen has relied on the OEM for data and in some cases the transparency was not adequate. Snelson believes that monitoring capability delivered from the turbine OEM does not always provide the transparency of data required for truly efficient wind farm maintenance. “There is real value in being able to access and manage condition monitoring data ourselves with an independent solution. This gives us much better visibility of the health of our turbines than when under manufacturer warranty. While OEMs are becoming more open in their approach, the ability to carry out root cause analysis and cross-fleet predictive maintenance is more limited than when you have control over your own data. Romax has been key in helping us gain this control.”

Next steps with Romax

In addition to providing predictive health monitoring of their turbine fleet, InSight will help Infigen Energy assess the comparative performance of the wind farm, allowing production outliers to be identified. This will help Infigen to both resolve operational issues and manage turbine demand and loading, so for example, protecting those positioned in regions of more intense wind from excessive loading and wear.

Snelson has high hopes of the relationship with Romax and of the potential benefits that large-scale turbine health monitoring will bring for Infigen. “My expectations will continue to be very high, especially on the technical front because I know the quality of people that Romax has working on this project – they’re great engineers and the bar has been set high for them; but it’s been set mainly by Romax.”

Infigen is the latest company in a growing number who are beginning to recognise the power of knowledge bought to them through the InSight software from across the world. Harnessing knowledge in an understandable way from your wind turbines BIG data and being able to use this to determine a strategic maintenance plan that significantly reduces costs whilst ensuring gearbox reliability is maximised is a no brainer.

For more information on InSight and the software and services of Romax please visit: http://www.romaxtech.com/products/insight.aspx

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1 Response

  1. Dear Sir/Madam

    SUN GREEN ENGINEERING Work Details

    Reliable Operation of Equipments.
    Feasibility Study
    Detailed Engineering
    Performance Monitoring
    Windfarm O&M
    All Type of Windmill Spare Parts
    All Type of Switch Gear Protecion & Transformer Parts
    All Type of High Tension Line Parts
    Electronics Spare Parts
    Wind Energy Auditing
    Wind mill Auditing

    With Best Regards,

    Sun Green Engineering

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