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Vibration analysis for large-scale wind turbine blade bearing fault detection with an empirical wavelet thresholding method

Liu, Zepeng, Zhang, Long, Carrasco, Joaquin
Renewable energy 2020 v.146 pp. 99-110
blades, case studies, electric power, energy, renewable energy sources, vibration, wavelet, wind farms, wind turbines
Blade bearings, also termed pitch bearings, are joint components of wind turbines, which can slowly pitch blades at desired angles to optimize electrical energy output. The failure of blade bearings can heavily reduce energy production, so blade bearing fault diagnosis is vitally important to prevent costly repair and unexpected failure. However, the main difficulties in diagnosing low-speed blade bearings are that the weak fault vibration signals are masked by many noise disturbances and the effective vibration data is very limited. To address these problems, this paper firstly deals with a naturally damaged large-scale and low-speed blade bearing which was in operation on a wind farm for over 15 years. Two case studies are conducted to collect the vibration data under the manual rotation condition and the motor driving condition. Then, a method called the empirical wavelet thresholding is applied to remove heavy noise and extract weak fault signals. The diagnostic results show that the proposed method can be an effective tool to diagnose naturally damaged large-scale wind turbine blade bearings.