Knowing the future failure rates of your drivetrain helps lower O&M costs

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Most wind turbine operators plan their O&M budgets around corrective maintenance, because their Condition Based Monitoring systems and SCADA data give limited visibility, from zero to 90 days, into the current health of their fielded assets. If a failure is detected from sensors, it's too late to do preventative maintenance. Operating and monitoring managers are forced to do reactive maintenance, which is costly.

Downtime for gearbox replacement can take up to 1.5 months, costing roughly $45,000 to $80,000 in loss of revenue per turbine. For the average 1.5-MW turbine, it costs about $900 per day in loss of production, and for the average 2.5-MW turbine it’s approximately $1,700 per day. This makes knowing the component failure rates over the turbine’s lifetime key to finding ways to lower O&M spend.

Knowing the failure rates over the next 18 months, for instance, results in less reactive maintenance and more planned preventative maintenance. This may include the ability to choose suppliers based on the life expectancy of their products, as opposed to purchasing based out of urgency.

For example, maybe you don’t want to put a bearing in your gearbox that will last another 20 years, because other components are only projected to last 5 years. Instead, you’d choose a bearing with a minimal life expectancy and at a lesser cost. Or maybe you want to extend the life of your fielded asset by 2+ years, so you might consider a different lubrication supplier that would result in a longer life.

Sentient Science knows the failure rates of the components and gearboxes within our customers' fielded assets at three levels of visibility: from zero to 3 months, 3 months of 5 years and from 5 years to 30 years.

Our DigitalClone technology uses materials science-based computational testing to provide life extension data and life extension solutions for fielded assets. Our DigitalClone technology ,offered as a Software as a Service, simulates thousands of test points 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide prognostic reporting on the health of the fleet, ranking assets worst to best and allowing for multi-year forecasting.

To learn more, Stephen Steen will be on a panel discussion about Designing for Reliability – Supply Chain Perspective on Material Durability and Best Practice Mechanical Component Design at 11 A.M. CET tomorrow. And Dr. Elon Terrell will be presenting on How to Achieve 25-30 Years Lifetime for the Wind Turbine Drivetrain: Extending the Life of Components with Prognostic Technology and Asset Management at 11:15 A.M. CET on Wednesday, March 16 at the WindPower Monthly Drivetrain Component Reliability and Optimisation this week in London.


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