Presentations - WindEurope Annual Event 2024

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Field test results of a novel fiber optical gearbox condition monitoring solution

Georgo Angelis, Chief Executive Officer, Sensing360 B.V.


In this paper we discuss and evaluate the applicability and feasibility of a Fiber Optical Sensor (FOS) , array wrapped around the stationary outer ring of a planetary gearbox to measure real-time Torque, Speed and Load sharing. We present the results of extensive measurement campaigns to evaluate this novel fiber optical gearbox sensing solution in both a controlled environment, i.e. on the end of line back-to-back test rigs used for the qualification for planetary gearboxes and we show the results and insights of extensive tests in the field especially on a 2MW turbine with a G97 planetary gearbox. The fiber optical sensor is qualitatively and quantitatively compared in the field with generator torque and main shaft torque signals (strain gauges) and tooth root strain gauge measurements on a test rig. We show the feasibility of a fiber optical sensor solution to cost effectively and in real time measure load sharing, torque and speed and its benefit to more reliably operate an epicyclic gearset within its (torque) capacity. It is shown that by measuring and thereby assuring that the gearbox torque and load sharing safety limits are respected during all operation conditions it is possible to push the limits of sustainable (reliable and economically viable) rotation and to detect early gearbox failures or non-optimal operating conditions. It is also shown that the measurements give insight in the design validation phase of a planetary gearbox and as an end of line qualification sensor. We will give examples of how this fiber optical sensing technology can be applied during design validation and up tower for gearbox condition monitoring and fleet management, its current limitations with an outlook into the near future and how it compares to alternative measurement and monitoring technologies.

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