Operators need to invest in disruptive tech, says Onyx Insight

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Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) have radically changed the return on investment model for turbine condition monitoring in the United States, helping wind-farm owners make significant OPEX savings. By cutting the cost of condition monitoring systems (CMS), low-cost MEMS sensors have helped wind-farm owners to improve operational planning, cut unscheduled maintenance, and make OPEX savings of up to 8 percent each year, according to ONYX InSight.

First introduced by ONYX InSight in the wind-energy industry, MEMS sensors are used in CMS hardware to measure and report on vibration, temperature, and oil condition in the drive train. With billions of MEMS sensors manufactured every year for use in equipment from mobile phones and pacemakers to automotive and aviation safety systems, the technology is low cost and highly reliable. MEMS equipped CMS have transformed the return on investment for turbine monitoring, particularly for owners of smaller or older models. Lowering the cost of CMS hardware has allowed owners to refine repair and maintenance strategies to realize greater OPEX savings. The latest CMS hardware collects a wide range of wind-turbine performance metrics, allowing wind-farm operators to identify and confirm faults much earlier and to act preventatively to save money on repairs and site visits. The low-cost technology can benefit older and smaller turbine models significantly.

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