Developing a Wind Turbine Assembly Dynamic Diagnostics System for ACCIONA Wind Power Using LabVIEW

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"We used LabVIEW as a programming tool for the acquisition and the graphic interface because of its versatility in customizing menus to our requirements in terms of traceability parameters, monitoring operating instructions, and data and user management. The programming consists of three separate parts."

- José Errea Múgica, Aresse Engineering S.L.

The Challenge:
Developing a system in accordance with ACCIONA quality standards for the dynamic characterization of wind turbines during the postassembly testing stage that is powerful, reliable, and flexible in terms of installation and use as well as within budget.

The Solution:
Integrating IEPE industrial accelerometers using NI USB-9233 modules for data acquisition distributed among different positions along the nacelle of a wind turbine and connected through a USB hub to an industrial PC, from which we can manage the test and its results.

Author(s):
José Errea Múgica - Aresse Engineering S.L.
Gorka Gainza Gonzalez - Aresse Engineering S.L.
José Ginés Carrasco Balanz - Acciona WindPower
Enneko Gamboa Medarde - Acciona WindPower

In terms of quality, the assembled turbine must comply with our internal regulations that establish acceptable levels of vibration, which can be recorded on sensitive points of the machine as a requirement prior to sending the turbine to the plant. The application developed by Aresse Engineering allows the operator to easily identify the vibration levels and make timely decisions to enter the records within the enabled windows and store the test data for appropriate traceability management.

From a logistical point of view, the turbines assembled in our wind power plants will stay in a fixed position during their assembly while the tools and work teams move from machine to machine. Additionally, the distance between the different locations to be monitored on just one turbine is considerable. Therefore, we needed portable equipment that limits the length of the corresponding cabling as well as a powerful setting and measurement system that guarantees stability and proper connection.

The Specified Hardware

In accordance with our logistical and financial needs, the equipment specified includes the following components (Figure 2):

  • Five USB-9233 modules to provide 20 fast acquisition channels with IEPE conditioning
  • Four triaxial piezoelectric accelerometers and another eight uniaxial PCB accelerometers conditioned for industrial use
  • Military cabling and connectors
  • A calibrator for piezoelectric accelerometer sensitivity checks
  • Integration modules for the electronics user interface

The Monitoring Program

We used LabVIEW as a programming tool for the acquisition and the graphic interface because of its versatility in customizing menus to our requirements in terms of traceability parameters, monitoring operating instructions, and data and user management. The programming consists of three separate parts.

In the first stage, all the temporary variables generated on the basis of previous monitoring are loaded in convenient data structures and acquisition parameters are established for the hardware to work throughout the whole application.

The second stage of the code involves the application core within an iterative structure. The system performs the operations needed to show statistical and spectral values on screen, both instantaneous and averaged, which characterize the dynamic behavior of the turbine in the different operating conditions established by ACCIONA (Figure 3).

Finally, the system generates the data files needed for later use of the software as well as those that correspond to the data stored in the monitoring machine, which allow the system to show the testing history and the results achieved. We programmed a link between LabVIEW and Microsoft Excel to dump the information in a template format, which allows the testing results to be included directly in the machine book (Figure 4).

Additionally, the application allows the following through different menus:

  • Measurement traceability management (Figure 5)
  • User and access levels management based on user profiles – operator/quality/engineering
  • Viewing files and results from previously monitored machines
  • Application of calibration for verifying the correct functioning and sensitivity of the measurement chain

We now have a completely customized system with 20 channels for reading and analyzing dynamic data to meet our quality standards as they relate to wind turbine testing over several months in our assembly plant that offers the agility, quality, and flexibility we require for our operations.

Author Information:
José Errea Múgica
Aresse Engineering S.L.
Calle Etxesakan 28, Oficina 8
Zizur Mayor - Navarra
Spain

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