In a wind turbine, a failure of an important component, such as a main bearing, can lead to long-lasting downtimes and thus to a corresponding energy loss. In offshore wind energy, the problem is even more serious as maintenance work is not always possible due to adverse weather conditions and must be planned in advance. In order to save operational expenditure, wind farm operators are required to implement a maintenance strategy that enables them to predict a component’s failure as early as possible.
The RWE Renewables GmbH has developed an ANN based tool that predicts the temperature of undamaged main bearings based on a selection of SCADA signals. Anomalies are detected when the actual bearing temperature deviates from the predicted temperature. The tool was shown to be successful in detecting issues up to nine months before failure.