Sensors for intelligent and reliable components

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Abstract: One way to tackle the climate change society is facing today is through the change to renewable energy sources, such as wind power. Today, a trend when it comes to technology is that products are evolving into becoming more cyber-physical systems (CPS) by integrating functions realized with mechanics, control and communication. One challenge for CPS is to find cost-effective and reliable sensor solutions.  The purpose of this project is to lay the foundations for an intelligent CPS with the help of sensors and condition monitoring methods that, with further development, can reduce the downtime of a wind turbine. Thus, the reliability of the wind turbine and the profitability of its investors increase. The aim of the work is to develop an overall concept for a sensor package with analysis methods that enable real-time diagnosis in the gearbox of a wind turbine. This sensor package should be able to monitor the most common problems that arise in the gearbox and it should also be able to be used as a basis for a possible development of a CPS in the future.  The work is based on an information search that enables the creation of a list of requirements. This then forms the basis for concept generation through the use of a function/means tree and concept evaluation through the use of elimination matrix, weight determination matrix and weighted criteria matrix.  The work concludes that there are four main types of failures that occur in the gearbox and that should be monitored. These are scuffing, micropitting, propagation of cracks and bearing failure. The final concept uses vibration analysis for monitoring of micropitting, crack propagation and bearing failure, oil analysis for monitoring of scuffing and micropitting and temperature measurement for monitoring of scuffing and bearing failure. For vibration analysis, piezoelectric sensors are used, for oil analysis electromagnetic sensors and for temperature measurement resistance thermometers are used.  The work finds that it is appropriate in this day and age to use well-established methods for condition monitoring in the gearbox of wind turbines.

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