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Orbital Critical Systems  has been selected by the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) to participate in a project under the EEA GRANTS scheme OPENPREDICTION, entitled “REAL-TIME, OPEN AND REMOTE OFF-SHORE WIND FARMS PREDICTIVE HEALTH MONITORING”.

The aim of the project is to design and implement a predictive maintenance system that results in a substantial reduction in unavailability (outage) time of wind farms, with a particular impact on offshore implementations, and significant reduction in operation and management costs (O & M).

Orbital Critical Systems  reuses its deep know-how in mission-critical avionics and real-time systems to develop highly reliable software and new hardware. This will allow real-time, high-resolution remote monitoring of all sensor parameters for the maintenance of a wind turbine. Such parameters are:

  • Vibration: Determines the status of rotational equipment, analyzing components subject to vibration such as the generator, the gearbox and the rotor.
  • Oil quality: This is a key predictive maintenance parameter as poor lubrication reduces the efficiency of the wind turbine and can easily produce mechanical failures.
  • Tension: Estimation of structural stress is a common technique used to determine the structural health of a wind generation turbine.
  • Acoustics: The microphones used to measure the internal and external noise can indicate wear problems.
  • Temperature: Thermocouples and resistance temperature detectors are routinely used to measure structural temperature.
  • Quality of output power: Wind turbine monitoring pays special attention to control the quality of the output power of the generator which can degrade as a result of wind speed, turbulence and changes of state.
  • Detection of Ice: Icing is one of the major impediments to the installation of wind farms in places with especially cold climates. The icing on an aircraft represents a serious risk to the flight, a fact that is aggravated because it generally occurs unexpectedly. In order to solve this problem, Orbital Critical Systems  intends to employ techniques that have already been successfully applied to the aviation sector.

To acquire information from all sensors, it will obviously be necessary to establish a communication network of sensors that are able to share all the collated information in a reliable and timely manner. Wireless transmission of information from the sensors will be achieved through the use of DASH-7 technology. This is an Open-Source RFID standard for wireless sensor networks (WSN) which operates in the free band of 433 MHz. It is therefore a low-power technology that ensures a battery life of several years from the time of deployment. The theoretical range of operation is up to 2 km and can be used for geo-localization (indoor and outdoor) to an accuracy of 1 meter. It also provides a bandwidth of 200 kbit / sec.

Data exchange between the receiving device and the server is performed via a FTDI-USB cable. Due to the similarities of the FTDI connector with RS232, a RS422 bus is used to connect the receiving device to the server .


For the HMI development, web technologies have been used. That allows, in a comfortable and easy way, the control of the wind farm status from any PC (windows, Linux, Mac) or any mobile device (tablet or smart-phone).

     HMI examples