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Monitoring solution for wind turbine rotor blades

The RBTM (rotor blade tension monitoring) solution from Phoenix Contact continuously monitors the oscillations of wind power installation (WPI) rotor blades. It provides optional CANopen connectivity.

Phoenix Contact offers solutions for the automation of wind power plants (Photo: Phoenix Contact)

HARSH ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS and long lifecycles – wind power plants place high demands on electrical engineering. Phoenix Contact offers solutions for the automation of wind power plants. According to the company, this allows to minimize downtimes and use wind power plants as efficiently as possible.

Condition monitoring

RBTM continuously monitors the stress placed on rotor blades in a wind power plant. Stress can therefore be detected. In the event that the set limit value is exceeded, alarms are triggered via freely programmable digital outputs.

As a result of increasingly longer blades, the systems monitoring loads and oscillations must keep up with rising demands. The monitoring solution utilizes strain gauges glued into the rotor blades. These sensors provide measuring data for calculating the mechanical stress imposed on the rotor blades. Freely programmable digital outputs can be used to transmit an alert signal in the event that configured thresholds are exceeded.

All data are also made available for performing analyses. Data transfer takes place either via an optional modem or directly via the fieldbus built into the WPI. The monitoring solution can be integrated in virtually any bus environment, including CAN, Profinet, Profibus, or Modbus. There are two versions available, depending on whether the system is to be introduced as a retrofit or is to be part of the electrical design. The box solution is suitable for retrofitting and comes with a preassembled control cabinet ready for mounting in the hub. The SD card solution addresses customers who want to install the controller and I/O modules into the pitch control cabinets.

Rotor blades

As mentioned, the RBTM provides users with continuous monitoring of their rotor blades. The user can decide whether to utilize only an alarm output or analyze the complete measurement data theirself. The rotor blades are the critical components of a wind power plant. Their monitoring becomes increasingly more important with the trend for continuously longer blades.

The rotor blades are subject to large dynamic forces which can lead to structural damages over the service life of the blades. Damages can be recognized of the wind power plant, thereby reducing the stress on the blades. If it should ever lead to a damage, this will allow early detection. By recording the load spectrum, users monitor the occurring load over the entire service life.

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Phoenix Contact