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Onyx Insight and Castrol partner to deliver independent oil sensor study for the wind industry

Nottingham, January 2020

  • Laboratory findings indicate the importance of using the right oil sensor technology for turbine health monitoring
  • Trial responds to industry need to improve operations and maintenance (O&M) efficiencies as wind farms find their profits increasingly squeezed in a post-subsidy market

ONYX InSight, the leading provider of predictive maintenance to the wind industry, together with Castrol, one of the leading experts in industrial lubricants, have embarked on a multi-phase study designed to uncover the potential of combining oil and vibration data on the accuracy of wind turbine health monitoring.


Advancing predictive maintenance


With the objective to bring the most innovative and advanced predictive maintenance solution to the wind industry market, ONYX InSight and Castrol have completed laboratory testing to measure the effectiveness of sensors to the changing conditions of oil in a simulated wind turbine environment. The tests were carried out using a range of oil sensor technologies, with each sensor type tested in multiple oils from three separate vendors to ensure comprehensive results.


Refining a condition monitoring system


The second phase is now in progress and has seen a rigorous programme of oil sensor installations in a commercial wind farm. Data from the field shows excellent correlation between oil sensor and vibration condition monitoring system (CMS) outputs relating to a developing gearbox bearing failure – giving operators even more confidence in the detection algorithm. The trials are helping ONYX InSight and Castrol refine new approaches for an advanced, integrated CMS by combining data from oil condition, vibration sensors and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.


Increasing efficiencies to help reduce levelized energy costs


The pioneering study comes in response to the industry’s need to increase efficiencies to help lower levelized cost of energy. The businesses believe that combining oil data with vibration data offers significant diagnostic advantages that improve maintenance planning across a turbine or fleet when deployed together with machine learning and engineering expertise.

Bruce Hall, CEO, ONYX InSight, said: “Current predictive maintenance solutions can already offer significant O&M cost-savings. By adding an additional data
stream through combining oil and vibration data, accuracy increases. This allows our customers to generate even higher cost savings.”

“As wind farms find their profits increasingly squeezed in the post-subsidy market, it is vital to enable O&M teams to drive maximum operational efficiencies using the latest technology. To continue to innovate and improve predictive maintenance best practice, we need to understand how oil and vibration data can be combined to provide the most accurate insights to enable us to best support our customers’ O&M teams.”
Phil Booker, international application engineer, Castrol, adds, “As we work towards a more sustainable future, an important part of our strategy is to ensure that renewable energy sources, such as wind power, can achieve maximum efficiency and performance. We have been at the forefront of supplying best-in-class carbon neutral lubricants to extend wind turbine lifecycles. Now we are working with ONYX InSight to ensure that O&M teams have the knowledge they need to help propel growth in wind energy.”
The study comes as ONYX InSight prepares to launch the first in a series of digitalisation reports, which incorporates key findings from the combined oil sensor study along with additional research, to help companies rationalise the volume of data in the wind industry to help unlock the benefits of digitalisation. The white paper will be available to download at next month.


About ONYX InSight


ONYX InSight is a joint venture, combining Romax Technology’s 30 years of expertise in software, services and data analytics for gearbox, bearings and rotating machinery with Castrol’s global reach and knowledge of wind turbine lubrication.

The venture delivers reduced operations and maintenance costs through smart and unbiased predictive analytics underpinned by real-world engineering
expertise for wind energy industry and beyond.
For more information about ONYX InSight, visit: