Blade Bearing Condition Monitoring

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Monitor your blade bearing health to mitigate catastrophic failure

The blade bearing joins the blade to the hub whilst allowing it to rotate during pitching. A highly stressed part due to lift, torque and gravitational forces, this component is critical to wind turbine performance and  structural integrity. A blade bearing failure has a high replacement cost of around €200-300k onshore and €600k-1.5m offshore. Depending on crane and component availability downtime can easily exceed 6 weeks. The cost of replacing a whole blade can be over €0.5m. With the value case for gearboxes and main bearings been well established the past 5-10 years have seen CMS innovation within other major component areas such as blades and blade bearings as wind farm owners demand better quality data to inform decision making. 

What blade bearing failure modes can we detect?

Ring cracks
Edge chipping
False Brinelling
Cage cracks
Ring ruptures

How does it work?

Our blade bearing system uses proximity sensors to measure deformation and elongation. 

Fibre optics measure changes in circumferential length of a bearing due to a ring crack. 

Proximity sensors are used to measure changes in existing crack width

Through established alarm levels and algorithms set for different failure modes we are able to inform the customer about potential damages (risks) and risks allowing wind farm owners to properly plan blade bearing maintenance. 

Typically installed within 1-2 days, the system is completed independent of SCADA and OEM and the sensors are maintenance free.  

Monitor blade bearing crack propagation

Once a crack is seen it can incite panic in wind turbine owners, particularly in winter when lifting conditions are poor and power generation is high. Understanding the risk and keeping a finger on the pulse of what is happening up-tower allows for level headed decision making optimised for your O&M strategy and plans. 

When a blade bearing crack occurs the fibre optic sensor expands. This sensor periodically sends a signal to the PLC. The speed of light and the distance travelled is recorded which allows tiny movements in crack propagation (>0.2mm) to be monitored. We can monitor all ruptures in hub, tower, mainframe, jackets and monopiles too. 

Trend blade bearing health

The above graphs show that after CMS installation the bearings are seen to be in bad condition. Blade bearing 3 (purple) is in almost critical condition. With an upward trending projection over the 6 months following installation we can see that bearings 1 & 2 (orange and green) are stable and that the purple blade bearing is trending towards failure and requires changeout. 

Established innovation in blade bearing condition monitoring

Blade bearings are a troubled component for a number of different wind turbines. Here are a list of WTGs that we have experience with. Not only do we monitor, we also offer engineering consultancy, root cause analysis, upgrades and blade bearing testing.

We are DNV-GL approved for our blade bearing CMS with over 300 systems in operation since 2016. We monitor over 30 WTG types. Find out below or ask us for inside information. 

Which turbines do we monitor?

  • Senvion (MD70, MM82, MM92, 3.2)
  • Siemens (2.3, 3.6, 6.0)
  • Vestas (V80, V90)
  • Nordex (N90, N131)
  • GE (1.5, 2.5)
  • Enercon (E82)
  • Flender 2.5

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