Provider of predictive maintenance in the wind energy industry Onyx InSight has been selected by Dongkuk S&C to replace the main bearing on a wind turbine generator at their wind farm in the Jollanam Province, South Korea.
A wind turbine on Jeju Island, South Korea
Onyx InSight was chosen by Dongkuk S&C to replace one of the three main bearings at its Shinan project in South Korea. Following a competitive tender, the company was awarded the contract based on its previous experience of wind turbine main bearing replacements with one of the biggest wind energy companies in South Korea. The project involves a turbine model largely unique in South Korea, with only three others in operation in the country.
On this particular turbine an abnormal sound and vibration was initially detected by a Dongkuk service engineer. After the detection of this condition, Onyx was requested to conduct a full site inspection. As a result of the inspection, the company recommended Dongkuk stop operations on the faulty turbine immediately and replace the mainbearing to avoid a potentially catastrophic failure.
“Regular technician inspections are important for tracking turbine health” said Kyunghyun Lee, Prediction team leader at Onyx InSight. “However, because data is only collected intermittently, some health indicators can get overlooked, reducing the amount of warning maintenance teams might get of failure. A condition monitoring system (CMS) installed in the turbine and capable of collecting continuous data on drive train vibration would likely have identified the fault sooner. In this instance, without more warning of the failure, Onyx InSight had to recommend the complete replacement of the main bearing for the wind turbine. Installed CMS allow owners and operators to manage the health of their turbine to extend the useful working life of parts.”
The company has many years experience and expertise across a multi-brand portfolio of turbine models in the field, and was therefore well positioned to complete this replacement project. The company has developed a new methodology, which allows the replacement of wind turbine parts quickly and efficiently and therefore presenting a saving of up to 50 percent on this replacement project.
South Korea has a target to increase the amount of renewable energy it generates, from 6 percent to 20 percent of total energy production by 2030. The country will therefore need to both build new renewable energy sources and maintain and improve the efficiency of older renewable energy generators in the country. This means that Onyx InSight will have an important role in predictive maintenance and providing solutions to wind farm owners in the country by allowing older wind turbines to remain operational and efficient.
With main bearings operating in harsh environments, wear and tear is an unavoidable fact and, if ignored, it can be catastrophic. Proper installation and condition monitoring of the main bearing is essential if a wind turbine is to be safely operated and reach its expected useful life.