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1 in 5 wind farm owners opt for advanced cloud-based software to run predictive maintenance in-house

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According to research by predictive maintenance company Onyx InSight, new trends in software analytics are helping owners and operators to run more of their predictive maintenance monitoring in-house, enabling them to collect, handle and analyse more turbine performance data than ever before.
1 in 5 wind farm owners opt for advanced cloud-based software to run predictive maintenance in-house
Courtesy of Onyx InSight

Across the 9 GW of wind capacity monitored by the company, 20 percent of wind farm owners are opting for a low cost ‘do-it-yourself’ model of predictive maintenance, fuelled by the drive to reduce operational expenditure and the development of cloud-based solutions, thereby lowering barriers to analysis. At the company’s recent North American Technical Symposium, 51 percent of attendees confirmed their organization was planning to adopt artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to monitor wind turbines in the near term.

“Wind farms must be supported by the right digital operations and maintenance tools, and turbine monitoring technology if they are to be successful” said Ashley Crowther, global VP of sales and engineering at Onyx InSight. “Wind operation and maintenance (O&M) is moving towards networking all different performance measurement machines into cloud-based servers to deploy centralised monitoring software. This means that, when it comes to turbine health checks, it’s a much smoother process for asset owners and operators as everything is interconnected in a cloud environment.”

Cloud-based solutions are also enabling owner operators to combine their turbine health monitoring software onto one platform. In a recent poll at its Japanese Technical Symposium, Onyx InSight found that 45 percent of wind farm owners and operators would prefer to use one single platform which utilises and connects all their turbine performance data.

Noah Myrent, Onyx InSight global head of monitoring, added that the availability of single, interconnected platforms for turbine monitoring means that it is simpler to conduct performance benchmarking and permits the analysis of SCADA data and operational data side by side, as all data sets are available in the same place. A cloud solution also allows experts to see exactly the same data as the owner operator. In effect, businesses opting to take analytics in-house can do so on a sliding scale, able to call on support from a consultant as and when they need higher-level engineering expertise.

The option to call on the support of engineering consultants is essential for companies adopting a self-perform approach, however, as failure to adopt the right cloud-based software could lead to missed warnings and suboptimal analysis. This can lead to either an overly cautious approach that results in lower than expected power production, or an overly risky approach that leads to unexpected failure and higher costs.

Old condition monitoring system (CMS) software often fails to identify faults as it may not allow the reprocessing of historical data. This means owner operators need to configure the system to find new faults and wait up to three months for the data to come in. With the right tools, owner operators should be able to create a new algorithm, reprocess historical data, and flag issues the same day.

“It is critical for digital, cloud-based software to be capable, configurable, offer data flow integrity and optimum security” Crowther said. “Cyber security is a worldwide concern and wind energy shouldn’t shy away from it. When using cloud-based systems, data must be encrypted while being transferred from condition monitoring hardware to an analysis platform.”

For additional information:

Onyx InSight

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