Fewer downtimes in offshore wind farms through data-based condition monitoring

Digitalisation and industry 4.0 | innovation | trends of technology | The predictive condition monitoring technology is revolutionizing the maintenance of large-diameter bearings in difficult-to-access facilities. Our experts at thyssenkrupp rothe erde explain the advantages of condition monitoring.

With their digital maintenance solution, Dr. Gunther Elfert, technical project manager, and Gideon Eichner, commercial project manager at thyssenkrupp rothe erde, help manufacturers of wind turbines to operate their plants efficiently. Thanks to condition monitoring, the slewing bearings in the wind turbines are subjected to continuous condition monitoring – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The data obtained provide valuable insight into the operation of the offshore plants. Maintenance work can thus be anticipated and better planned. In this way, potential failures of the wind turbines are reduced or avoided altogether.


This makes thyssenkrupp rothe erde’s condition monitoring portfolio a forward-looking, digital solution that can significantly increase offshore plants’ productivity and lifetime with intelligent technology.

How condition monitoring and digital twins extend the life of wind turbines

To install condition monitoring in wind turbines means to transfer your turbines into the digital age. Because in the case of offshore turbines, the so-called digital twin – an exact digital image of the turbine – is increasingly requested by customers to get the best possible performance out of their turbines and maintain it for as long as possible. Condition monitoring in the slewing bearing sets the required course for the requirement of creating such a digital twin.

“Many of our customers would like to optimize the utilization of their plant during its life cycle and for this they need data, for example to control the machine load. “, explains Dr. Gunther Elfert. “It is quite conceivable that the service life of a slewing bearing could be extended by one or two years by changing the machine load by a few percentage points. But I don’t even need to start with that if I don’t know what effect this will have on the wear of the slewing bearing. The data from the condition monitoring system is very valuable in addressing such issues.”


Data analysis is always about data security

The collection and evaluation of data that depicts the entire plant operation also raise the question of data security. The condition monitoring solutions from thyssenkrupp rothe erde offer maximum data security. The data is collected in real-time and can be evaluated directly on site. The data can also be transmitted wirelessly, for example, or managed centrally via a cloud service. Here, too, data security has top priority.

Data analysis can be used to identify patterns that provide valuable insights into the operation of a large-diameter antifriction bearing: The knowledge gained helps to optimize the system. “Both the manufacturers and end customers of plants in which our bearings are used benefit from this,” says Dr. Elfert.

More reliable offshore plants with maximum productivity

In summary, thyssenkrupp rothe erde condition monitoring solutions make it easier for manufacturers of, for example, offshore wind turbines to plan maintenance work on large-diameter bearings. Data analysis also provides precise insights into wear and other important operating factors within the machines. All measures taken based on data analysis findings make our customers’ plants more productive, more efficient, and less susceptible to failures. Therefore, round-the-clock condition monitoring and data analysis are indispensable for identifying patterns and requirements within a plant.

With these solutions, offshore plants are digitalized and receive – no matter which terrain they are located – the necessary attention and the best possible service for the most extended possible life and performance. Our experts are also continually working on the further development of condition monitoring technology.

Our Condition Monitoring Solutions

  • The thyssenkrupp portfolio of condition monitoring solutions includes ECMS® (Eddie Current Measurement System). ECMS® is an electrical process which uses eddy current for contactless materials testing. The ECMS® from thyssenkrupp rothe erde is an element fitted with sensors which runs inactive in the slewing bearing during normal operation. If an inspection is to be carried out, a service technician activates the sensors and data transmission by means of an external energy supply in a circular motion.


  • A further component of the technology offered by thyssenkrupp rothe erde as part of its condition monitoring solutions is the ICM® system. Using various sensors, ICM® can record and locally analyze in real time e.g. bearing wear, motion profile, temperatures etc. In addition, the data can be made available via various interfaces such as WLAN or Bluetooth. In this way, the customer can be informed in timely fashion about any maintenance or inspection of the bearing that is due.


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