Sensor solutions for the wind industry


Condition monitoring of wind turbines increases their performance and the service life of components and machines. Modern sensor technologies can help to prevent repairs and to optimize maintenance cycles, not only during the construction and manufacturing of wind turbine components, but also in test benches and in the wind turbine itself. Furthermore, sensors can increase operational safety and minimize failure rates. Sensors from Micro-Epsilon have proved invaluable in various applications with regards to safe operation, particularly when it comes to supporting predictive maintenance regimes. Micro-Epsilon offers a wide range of modern sensors. Irrespective of whether your application is offshore or onshore - there are numerous measuring techniques and sensor models for your specific environment.

Offset measurement of the coupling ring

Above 100 meters, enormous wind loads act on the rotor blades, housing and tower. This is why couplings in wind turbines must balance the relative movement of the gearbox and generator. When measuring the offset of the coupling ring, eddy current sensors determine the distance, while measuring onto the metallic coupling ring. This leads to the determination of the load profile.

Non-contact, inductive displacement sensors based on eddy currents stand out due to a robust, compact design with integral controller. eddyNCDT 3001 und 3005 sensors from Micro-Epsilon are often used in applications where harsh ambient conditions are present and where maximum precision is required. Immunity to pressure, lubricants and extreme temperature are distinctive features of these sensors.

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Air gap monitoring using capacitive sensors

With very large generators and electric motors, it is important to determine the radial run out of the rotor inside the motor compared to the stator. Due to imbalances during operation which could be due to wear caused by extreme wind and weather conditions, the rotor might touch the stator. This is why the distance between the stator and rotor, i.e. the air gap or the rotor gap, is monitored using capacitive displacement sensors.

Capacitive capaNCDT sensors from Micro-Epsilon are designed for non-contact measurement of displacement, distance and position. They stand out due to long-term stability, reliability and temperature stability. The sensors used in this example are specially adapted to measurements in a generator. They are resistant to vibration and are protected by a special housing. Furthermore, capacitive sensors from Micro-Epsilon are resistant to magnetic fields.

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Laser triangulation sensors measure the foundations

Exposed to harsh weather conditions, foundations of wind turbines must withstand high stresses. When possible changes are recognized early enough, stoppages of the turbine and damage can be avoided. optoNCDT laser triangulation sensors reliably detect and document tower movements. Based on a high measuring rate, they measure the distance between the tower and the foundations to the highest precision. Any changes are detected reliably. The measurement values determined enable the evaluation of the oscillation behavior to be determined in detail.

The non-contact measuring principle of laser triangulation sensors enables wear-free measurements as the sensors are not subject to any physical contact with the target. Furthermore, they are ideal for very fast measurements to high accuracy and resolution.

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Non-contact temperature measurement on the generator using infrared temperature sensors

Overheating and contact problems in the generator can be some of the causes of plant failure. Continuous temperature monitoring inside the generator enables any overheating to be detected before any serious damage or plant failure can occur.

With this measurement task, non-contact infrared thermoMETER CT and thermoMETER CTfast temperature sensors from Micro-Epsilon are used. Their compact size makes them one of the world’s most compact pyrometers in their class. Combined with high measurement speed and accuracy, these are ideally suited to monitoring tasks in wind turbines. As these sensors are protected to IP65, they can also be used in harsh ambient conditions. Infrared temperature sensors from Micro-Epsilon provide exact measurement results within a large temperature range, from -50 °C to +975 °C.

More about thermoMETER CT and thermoMETER CTfast

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