In France, 25% to 30% of the turbines are equipped with a gearbox, whose gears may deteriorate over time. Their maintenance is therefore more than crucial to mitigate turbine downtime, production & revenues losses.

Benefits of a particles counter

The wear of one of the gears may lead to severe damages, until the gearbox became unusable, resulting in the wind turbine being stopped for several months, while waiting for spare parts.

Oil analysis done during the preventive maintenance can be insufficient and when the wind turbine does not have another detector system (like CMS for example – Condition Monitoring System), the installation of a particles counter is more than recommended.

With a particles counter, wear is detected early enough to leave the turbine produce during the order of the spare part. Turbine downtime is reduced to a few days only.

Purchasing and installation costs of this system represent about 5 days of stop, which will be avoided thanks to its installation. The particles counter can be installed on turbines of any age and of any type.

How does a particle counter work?

When a gear is worn, fragments come off and are carried by the coolant (the oil). The counter, located between the gearbox and the filter, detects the particles going through it. Several methods are used: laser, magnetic field, …

Figure 1 Installation with a particles counter (Source: Gastop)

The graph below shows the deterioration of a wind turbine gearbox, according to a particles counter.

  • At stage 1, the gear is getting damaged.
  • Between stage 1 and 2, the wear gets worst and number of particles carried by the oil increase.
  • At stage 2, the part is ordered and the turbine is curtailed: the number of particles increase slowly.
  • At stage 3, the gear is replaced.
  • Between stage 3 and 4, the filter eliminates the residual particles.
  • At stage 4, the turbine is running normally and the particles counter is set back to zero.

Greensolver can advise you if you want to install a particles counter to reduce your turbine downtime. Do not hesitate to contact us.