In hydroelectric plants, where failure
can lead to catastrophic consequences, proper maintenance is both
essential and expensive. Process monitoring systems can provide
invaluable information, alerting operators to impending failure
and allowing the optimisation of preventive maintenance schedules.
While such systems do exist for the fast rotating machinery seen
in the oil and gas industry, they are not well-adapted to the slowly
rotating machinery seen in hydroelectric generators.
This project was aimed at developing a
monitoring system for predicting failure in slowly rotating machinery,
particularly as seen in hydroelectric generating sets. Predictive
software and a data decision system were developed and various new
components were installed and successfully tested in hydroelectric
plants, including a medium-frequency optical sensor and a low-frequency
optical fibre accelerometer. The results mean increased efficiency
in hydroelectric power generation and increased activity for sensor-manufacturing
Partners say that while their new system
is designed for slowly rotating machinery applications like hydroelectric
sets or rotary cement kilns, the new software can also be used with
rapidly rotating machine-monitoring sensors.