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Onyx InSight and Castrol join forces in oil study

Onyx InSight, an engineering firm specialising in predictive maintenance, and lubricant manufacturer Castrol have announced a new partnership for a multiple phase study of how wind turbine health monitoring can be advanced by combining vibration and oil data.

For phase one of the study, the companies have already performed laboratory tests for a simulation of a wind turbine setup where sensors for monitoring oil conditions were evaluated for effectiveness.

Phase two, which involves equipping an actual wind farm with oil sensors on a large scale, has also been completed recently. The initial results suggest that combining a vibration-based monitoring system with a collection of oil sensors brings tangible benefits.

An international application engineer at Castrol, Phil Booker, said about the study:

“We have been at the forefront of supplying best-in-class carbon-neutral lubricants to extend wind turbine life cycles. Now we are working with Onyx InSight to ensure that O&M (operations and maintenance) teams have the knowledge they need to help propel growth in wind energy.”

The data from the trials will help the companies develop new condition-monitoring systems that collate data from vibration sensors, oil-condition monitors, and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems. Such an online system could provide high-quality data to help wind farm operators make decisions about pre-emptive maintenance. It would also reduce the need for taking offline oil samples, which can be sporadic due to variations in how and when the sample is taken. Safety would also be potentially improved by reducing the need to climb wind turbines.

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