Wind Energy Industry
Modern wind turbines can be efficient, but costly to maintain and repair. nCode solutions help to increase understanding of the dominant factors in the turbines’ structural integrity and reliability.
- Structures can be optimized for weight, cost and life, based on real inputs.
- New designs or problems can be evaluated and compared to existing known designs.
- Wind turbines can be monitored and analyzed in service to give advanced notice of potential problems, and to feed back valuable operating information for the design of the next generation of machines.
With nCode software, you can:
- Predict fatigue damage in the design of key components of the nacelle such as gearboxes.
- Understand the structural loading envelope.
- Monitor operational performance and identify statistical trends.
- Assess the reliability and structural integrity of systems for long-term operation.
While many older machines (1MW) have achieved many years of reliable service, some newer and larger machines (over 2MW) have experienced structural failures and other serious operating problems in as little as 1 to 2 years. This requires costly repairs, and also leads to a significant productivity loss due to downtime. The costs and risks are magnified when operating off-shore wind farms.
A dominant design case load is the simple rotation and self-weight of the main rotor – typically 10-20 tons, with some newer machines over 50 tons. This gives rise to a significant challenge: the need to save weight while at the same time ensuring structural integrity.
Emergency stops (defined in ISO-IEC 61400) and the effects of the control system and the associated system dynamics also need to be taken into account. Because these loads can exceed the normal operational loads in the nacelle of the wind turbine by a significant margin, the instantaneous fatigue damage associated with them is significant. Cumulative damage is also a function of the frequency with which these rare events occur in the 20-year design life. To optimise the design for reliable operation, the design loads and duty cycle must be based on realistic operating conditions.
nCode software, and the engineering expertise behind it, help minimize costs and maximize reliability at three stages:
The nCode DesignLife advanced fatigue solver for FE results converts stress loadcase results into component or whole structure fatigue lives, providing SN or EN, critical plane solutions and fast hot-spot runs. Loading is based on full time-series histories (real-world measured or design-specification derived) and retains phase relationships. This can be combined into duty cycle events representing many different loading scenarios and wind conditions, including one-off and rare events, covering a full 20-year operating period. Full results plots, safety factor and what-if results are available.
nCode DesignLife is certified by GL Renewables Certification (GL RC) which assures customers that their component designs, such as wind turbine hubs and main shafts, can be analyzed in conformity with GL Renewables Certification’s Guideline for the Certification of Wind Turbines (2010) by choosing the right settings in the software. This includes fatigue analysis under complex real world loading conditions specified in GL RC’s guidelines or IEC 61400-1 international standard.
Test, Validation and Commissioning
nCode GlyphWorks provides signal processing for vibration and strain-gauge fatigue analysis, with automated reporting. Standard sign-off tests and reports can process hundreds of channels of measurement, hundreds of tests or events, and gigabytes of data, analyzed reliably.
nCode Automation helps determine what loads a wind turbine encounters in real time. Collected data (such as SCADA or more specific diagnostic measurements) can be passed back to the FEA to be reanalyzed and compared with design expectations. Failure modes can be investigated – do conditions X and Y ever happen at the same time? How often does Z happen? Automated summary reports can be viewed, details investigated and new ideas evaluated with legacy data – all in a web browser.