Condition Monitoring for Wind Turbines
Making power electronics more reliable used to mean going back to the drawing board and optimizing materials, structures, and processes. For real reliability in regular operations, modern condition monitoring concepts are offering their operators a new choice.
In the ideal scenario, wind turbines can be monitored reliably even at long distance and possible failures predicted with high accuracy. This would allow for planning smart and responsive maintenance and repair services that promise genuinely reliable and safer operations and, consequently, greater reliability in terms of power generation writ large. The introduction of effective condition monitoring methods can reduce the substantial financial burden of inflexible ‘dumb’ maintenance cycles and, eventually, failures and breakdowns.
To make this scenario come true, the new approach relies on tracking a specific electrical parameter, the so called Miller plateau. Since the Miller plateau is affected by heat, it can be used to infer the local temperature, providing exact information about thermal stress as a potential cause of wear and damage to chips. The novel concept developed by Fraunhofer IZM employs this smart indicator for an effective prediction of the equipment’s remaining working life.