May 28, 2013 | Engineering + Technology, Wind Plant Optimization


This article first appeared in the May 2013 issue of North American Windpower.

While most owners and operators consider a condition monitoring system’s initial price tag, many do not realize that the annual analysis costs can also be significant.

Vibration-based condition monitoring systems (CMS) are critical for use in predictive maintenance programs that require early indications of faults. However, the major hurdle to wide-scale adoption of these systems has been their costs. As the hardware price of these CMS has come down, adoption has accelerated. These new CMS users have discovered there is a significant amount of analysis and expertise needed to translate a complex vibration wave form into an actionable recommendation.

The analysis is important because the performance of systems is dictated by its effectiveness, but doing the analysis well can incur significant costs. When evaluating CMS, prospective users should take a holistic approach to the total cost of ownership. The overarching goal of a CMS is to provide users with recommendations that allow them to make optimal operations and maintenance decisions. It is important to understand the process through which a CMS converts a physical measurement – in this case, vibration – into a recommendation for action.

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