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ONYX InSight and 8.2 Monitoring scaling predictive maintenance in the German wind market

Published: 13 October 2020 - Rachael Morling

ONYX InSight, a leading provider of predictive maintenance solutions to the wind industry, has partnered with renewable energy specialist, 8.2 Monitoring, to provide advanced sensing technology and engineering consultancy services to the wind industry in Germany.

The market provides a significant opportunity for digitalisation practices; a large proportion of German wind turbines currently lack either a factory-fitted or aftermarket condition monitoring system (CMS) that would help owners and operators to reduce their operational and maintenance (O&M) costs and increase productivity.
Cost effective solutions for ageing fleets
Nearly 85% of operational wind turbines in Germany are more than 5 years old, and so not covered by manufacturer warranties. Until recently, operators struggled to justify the high cost of installing and running CMS hardware on older turbines against turbines’ lifetime value, even when accounting for savings in repairs and improved availability and capacity factors. However, by using advanced sensing technology to reduce the cost of retrofitting monitoring hardware to aging wind energy assets, ONYX InSight has transformed the return on investment. This applies to both geared and direct drive wind turbines.
As permitting restrictions and a troubled transition to a merchant market continue to hamper new builds, wind farm owners and operators in Germany are increasingly looking to maximise revenue and minimise operations and maintenance costs for their existing assets.
ecoCMS provides an effective and economical aftermarket turbine monitoring solution. This is particularly the case on the market’s workhorse sub-2MW turbines – where previous CMS hardware options have not been considered cost-effective.
Benefits for direct drive and gearbox systems
The German market has a mix of turbines using direct drive and gearbox technology. Although direct drive turbines contain fewer moving parts than their gearbox equivalent, vibration monitoring improves the accuracy of fault detection and prediction in both systems. Failures can be considerably costlier with direct drive fleets due to the larger size and more critical role of components.
Predictive maintenance is essential across both technologies if wind farm operators are to extract maximum value over the lifecycle of their turbines. Collecting and analysing vibration data is one of the most effective approaches available to asset owners and our study shows that operators with better wind turbine data analytics save up to 17% on their OPEX costs. Crucially, combining multiple data streams, such as vibration, oil and temperature, improves diagnostic accuracy – these data sets can all be collected via ecoCMS advanced sensing technology.
Sven Thiesen, European sales director for ONYX InSight, said: “8.2 Monitoring and ONYX InSight complement each other, and the German wind market now has access to the best predictive maintenance solutions from both companies. 8.2 is deeply familiar with the German wind industry. They are trusted, independent and well-placed to provide market access for ONYX InSight’s economical and effective condition monitoring technology. In combination with 8.2’s leading monitoring expertise, we are changing the economics of predictive maintenance on ageing fleets.”
Bernd Höring, general manager, 8.2 Monitoring, continues: “ONYX InSight is bringing a different dynamic to the market with their innovative and economical hardware, cloud-based software solutions and extensive predictive maintenance experience. With a well-connected partner, ONYX InSight will play a key role in ensuring the German wind market can capitalise on the technical expertise and natural resources which continue to draw investors. The increased appetite for retrofits globally is clear, as ONYX InSight have seen ecoCMS sales double in 2019.”

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