Predictive Maintenance for Turbines Using Waveform Data

11 months ago

A turbine is a rotary mechanical device that extracts energy from a fluid flow and converts it into useful work. It is widely applied in various industries such as power generation, aerospace, marine, oil and gas, and manufacturing.

Predictive maintenance on turbines can provide significant improvement in reliability, efficiency, and safety, while reducing maintenance costs and extending turbine life. Monitoring the vibration of the turbine components, such as bearings or rotors, makes it possible to detect early signs of wear and tear, such as imbalances, misalignments, and looseness, before they cause catastrophic failures.

3 reasons why the full-waveform vibration data is so valuable

However, not all vibration data is created equal. To get the most accurate and reliable results from vibration analysis, capturing the full waveform of the vibration data is essential. Here’s why:

  1. Providing a complete picture to identify the root cause – Vibration data is essentially a waveform representing the turbine components’ motion over time. By capturing the full waveform, you get a complete picture of the vibration behavior of the turbine. This includes the amplitude and frequency of the vibration and its shape, duration, and phase. All of this information is important for accurately identifying the root cause of the vibration and determining the best course of action to correct it.
  2. Enabling advanced analytics to detect failure – Capturing the full waveform of the vibration data also enables more advanced analysis techniques, such as time-frequency analysis and envelope analysis. These techniques allow you to identify and isolate specific vibration patterns indicative of faults or failure. For example, envelope analysis can detect bearing faults, a common cause of turbine failures.
  3. Enhancing fault detection sensitivity – Finally, capturing the full waveform of the vibration data enhances the sensitivity of fault detection. Vibration data is often contaminated by noise, which can mask the subtle changes in vibration behavior that indicate a fault. By capturing the full waveform, you can apply signal processing techniques to filter out the noise and isolate the relevant vibration patterns.

In summary, capturing the full waveform of vibration data is essential to the effective predictive maintenance of turbines. It provides more information, enables advanced analysis techniques, and improves fault detection sensitivity. By using high-quality vibration sensors and analyzing the full waveform of the vibration data, engineers can detect early signs of wear and tear in the turbines and prevent catastrophic failures.

Challenges with the full-waveform vibration data

While capturing the full waveform of vibration data is essential to the effective predictive maintenance of turbines, ingesting, storing, and analyzing this data presents several challenges:

  1. Huge data volume: Full-waveform vibration data generate thousands of times more data points compared to other sensor data, which is exceptionally challenging to manage and analyze. Processing and analyzing this amount of data requires significant computational resources and a data platform suited for the task.
  2. Data lag. While several technologies, such as data warehouses or data lakes, can ingest large volumes of data, they have an architectural limitation that easily creates hours of data lag, rendering them unable to deliver timely, actionable insights. The prediction will be delivered after the problem occurs!
  3. Data analytics. Waveform data requires specialized analytical techniques, such as Fourier transforms or wavelet analysis, to extract meaningful information from the signal. These complex analytics are often costly in computation, making real-time analytics even more challenging. 
  4. Noise and interference: Noise and interference often contaminate vibration data, which can obscure the relevant vibration patterns. Filtering out noise and interference requires advanced signal processing techniques, which can be time-consuming and computationally intensive.

Overcoming these challenges requires properly tooled maintenance teams with specialized signal capture, processing, and analysis tools.

Additionally, partnering with vibration analysis and monitoring experts can provide valuable insights and support for effective maintenance planning and execution.

If you’d like to learn how Quasar can help, please visit this page.