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Operations and maintenance of wind turbines. Professor: By: Peter Lund Ishtiaq Muhammad Advanced wind power technology Msc Mech Student Asst Professor: Juuso Lindgren. Topics discussed Today. Three parts: 1- Operation of wind turbine 2- Maintenance of wind turbine

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Operations and maintenance of wind turbines

Operations and maintenance of wind turbines

Professor: By:

Peter Lund Ishtiaq Muhammad

Advanced wind power technology MscMech Student

Asst Professor:

  • Juuso Lindgren

Operations and maintenance of wind turbines

Topics discussed Today

Three parts:

1- Operation of wind turbine

2- Maintenance of wind turbine

3. Condition monitoring


  • Heart of wind turbine

  • Top of Tower

  • Consists the gear box, low- and high-speed shafts, generator, controller, and brake.

  • gears increase the rotational speed of the blades to the generator speed of over 1,500 RPM

  • Generato produced electricity frequency must be 60 CPS for feeding into grid

Gear box
Gear Box

  • low-speed shaft to the high-speed shaft

  • 30-60 rpm to 1000-1800 rpm

  • a costly (and heavy) part of the wind turbine

  • Drives generetor to produce electricity at max rotational speed


  • Upto 3 to 4 blades in a wind turbine, mostly 3

  • Converts wind energy to mechanical energy

  • blades spin at a slow rate of about 20 RPM, although the speed at the blade tip can be over 150 miles per hour.

  • Length upto 40-50 m

  • Material: fiberglass , Aluminum


  • made from tubular steel, concrete, or steel lattice

  • about 150 to 200 feet tall and 10 feet in diameter

  • ladder running up the inside for maintenance and services

Working principle of wind turbine
Working principle of wind turbine

Wind Mechanical energy Electricity

A video clip (3,5 minutes) for better show up :)


Purpose of maintenance
Purpose of Maintenance?

» Minimizing operational and maintenance costs

» Improving turbine performance/yield

» Lowering insurance risk

» Protecting assets

Maintenance as two parts
Maintenance as two parts

Mechanical repair

Electrical repair

Mechanical repair
Mechanical repair

Generator and gearbox housings

Wind generator and gearbox repair

Bearing change outs and upgrades

Slip ring change outs, upgrades & turning

Grounding system upgrades

Rotor lead change outs

Housing and component rebuilds

Brush holder upgrades

Wind turbine and blade cleaning – via rope access

Wind turbine main shafts

Heat exchangers

Blade inspection–via rope access

Wind turbine main shaft repair and wind generator bearing change out
Wind turbine main shaft repair and Wind generator bearing change out

Electrical repair
Electrical repair:

  • Heat exchangers

  • Blade inspection–via rope access

  • Wind generators up to 3+ MW

  • Electric motors

  • Cooling fans

  • Hydraulic pumps

  • Main breakers

  • Electronie boards

Offshore vs onshore maintenance
Offshore VS onshore maintenance

Offshore maintenance is much and more difficult than onshore maintenance

Offshore is much and more costly than onshore maintenance because of the usage of heavy ships, helicopters and cranes etc.

Weather conditions matter too both in offshore and onshore

Typpical gear box problems
Typpical gear box problems

1- Highly variable load and speed:

Wind is an intermittent energy source. It alternates between gusting and still. Therefore, the load that these gearboxes are trying to transmit is a lot more variable than it is in a plant operation (causes accident)

2- Low gearbox safety factors: The drive system in wind turbines is designed to be compact. "They try to make things as small as they can, so that means the safety factors are lower than usual.

3- Flexible foundation: Typically, a plant gearbox and motor are mounted on a large concrete foundation or a steel structure that’s bolted to a concrete foundation. The nacelle is flexing and the rotor itself is causing lots of loads in the whole structure. This causes misalignment between the generator and the gearbox."

Operations and maintenance of wind turbines

4- Extreme operating environment:

The turbines have to operate in extremely cold or extremely hot settings. Although the gearbox is in a nacelle and protected from rain it can still be subjected to extreme temperatures.

5- High operating temperature:

Manufacturers are resistant to adding large radiators to wind turbines. They allow these gearboxes to run pretty hot, and that means the oil viscosity gets low. When they’re rotating slowly, you don’t get a thick oil film between bearings and gears, so you get metal-to-metal contact — and that’s a problem.

What is condition monitoring
What is Condition monitoring?

Condition monitoring is a strategy where by physical parameters (such as vibration,temperature, lubrication particlesand others) are measured regularly to determine equipment condition.

This procedure makes it possible to detect machine and component problems before they can result in unexpected downtime and the high costs associated with maintenance and interrupted production.

How condition monitoring works
How condition monitoring works?

Today's monitoring systems can handle any number of turbines and multiple data points. Using vibration sensors mounted on a turbine's main shaft bearings, gearbox and generator, systems (in tandem with software) will continuously monitor and track a wide range of operating conditions for analysis. Wireless capabilities allow operators to review data from any location with a computer or hand-held device with Internet access

Condition monitoring system in nacelle
Condition monitoring system in nacelle

An integrated on-line condition monitoring system within a typically difficult-to-reach wind turbine nacelle (like the one shown in Fig on next page) offers a powerful tool for managing day-to-day maintenance routines and consolidating risky, costly maintenance activities.

Why condition monitoring is done
Why condition monitoring is done?

Condition monitoring is done to detect:

Unbalanced turbine blades 


Shaft deflections 

Mechanical looseness 

Foundation weakness 

Bearing condition 

Gear damage 

Generator rotor/stator problems 

Resonance problems 

Tower vibrations 

Blade vibrations 

Electrical problems 

Inadequate lubrication

Condition monitoring techniques
Condition monitoring techniques

The following techniques, available from different applications, which are possibly applicable for wind turbines, have been identified:

1. Vibration analysis

2. Oil analysis

3. Thermography

4. Physical condition of materials

5. Strain measurement

6. Acoustic measurements

7. Electrical effects

8. Process parameters

9. Visual inspection

10. Performance monitoring

Some common condition monitoring techniques
Some common condition monitoring techniques

Operations and maintenance of wind turbines

. Vibration Analysis

Vibration analysis is the most known technology applied for condition monitoring, especially for rotating equipment. The type of sensors used depends more or less on the frequency range, relevant for the monitoring:

- Position transducers for the low frequency range

- Velocity sensors in the middle frequency area

Accelerometers in the high frequency range

Examples can be found for safeguarding of:

1. Shafts

2. Bearings

3. Gearboxes

4. Compressors

5. Motors

Operations and maintenance of wind turbines

. Oil analysis

Oil analysis may have two purposes:

- Safeguarding the oil quality (contamination by parts, moist)

- Safeguarding the components involved (characterization of parts)

Oil analysis is mostly executed off line, by taking samples. However for safeguarding the oil Quality, application of on-line sensors is increasing.

Operations and maintenance of wind turbines

. Thermography

Thermograhyis often applied for monitoring and failure identification of electronic and electric components. Hot spots, due to degeneration of components or bad contact can be identified in a simple and fast manner. Thermals cameras are used for thermography purpose

. Strain measurement

Strain measurement by strain gauges is a common technique, however not often applied for condition monitoring. Strain gauges are not robust on a long term. Especially for wind turbines, strain measurement can be very useful for life time prediction and safeguarding of the stress level, especially for the blades.

This is what happens when maintenance is not done in time last topic
This is what happens when maintenance is not done in time (Last topic)

A short video clip (1 min)


So the maintenance and condition m onitoring of wind t urbine is as important as life
So the Maintenance and Condition (Last topic)Monitoring of Wind Turbine is as Important as Life

That s it thanks for listening any question
That’s it (Last topic)Thanks for listening :)Any Question?

Refrences: (Last topic)

Following list of references was used for this presentation.