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Reducing the number of undetected failures in wind turbine fleet could save Japanese operators hundreds of thousands of dollars a year

Tokyo, 29 May 2019: Attendees at ONYX InSight’s Japan Technical Symposium, which took place on Friday 24th May in Tokyo, heard how ONYX InSight could help operators to predict turbine failure more than 12 months in advance by combining existing turbine performance data with its extensive data base of historic failures. Equipped with this information about their turbines, operators are able to plan repairs in advance, conduct maintenance before critical parts reach failure and reduce the overall cost of maintenance.

By collecting turbine performance data and using it to monitor machinery health, operational teams can identify much earlier when repairs are needed and develop a plan that optimises technician time, minimises turbine down time, and reduces costs associated with repairs such as crane hire and component costs. Combining the savings available to operators from a condition-based maintenance programme and earlier diagnosis of faults, can result in a 50% reduction in unscheduled maintenance costs per turbine per year.

“With advanced warning of failure in, for instance, a turbine main bearing, operators are able to plan and conduct maintenance up-tower efficiently,” said Evgenia Golysheva, Head of Consulting at ONYX InSight. “using a condition-based maintenance approach, operators avoid paying a premium to secure a replacement part at short notice, and minimise revenue lost due to turbine unavailability.”

In a poll of Symposium attendees, more than half (55%) agreed that the management of unscheduled maintenance and repair work was the area in wind energy O&M with the greatest need for improvement. Furthermore, data analysis was recognised as key to improving diagnostics and driving O&M cost savings by 40% of attendees, ahead of improving diagnostics by installing additional monitoring equipment.

Symposium attendees were also shown an example of how grease flushing, removing old grease from the main bearing using solvents and replacing it with new grease, could extend turbine lifetime and reduce costs significantly for operators. Near 90% drops in particle and water content in bearing grease and a 15 degree drop in oil temperatures can help extend bearing lifetime significantly, and allow owners to plan replacements for a low-wind season, when costs and losses are lower.

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