Efficient Ice Detection Offers Improved Reliability and Safety to Wind Turbine Operation

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Labkotec Oy has introduced a new generation ice detector, the LID-3300IP for use in wind turbine applications.

The detector is especially designed for wind turbines operating in extremely harsh weather conditions. Effective ice detection contributes to increased safety and reduced maintenance through unplanned stops.

In recent years extreme weather conditions around the world have proven to be an additional hazard to wind turbine operations. In particular, ice forming on rotor blades can have an adverse effect on turbine reliability as well as posing a safety hazard should ice fall off the blades, potentially causing damage to buildings and people close to the structure. Turbine malfunctions and maintenance breaks reduce productivity and required safety areas are hard to reach in populated areas.

Ice detection and heating incorporated
The LID-3300IP Ice Detector is based on ultrasonic signal detection where the output signal weakens in the presence of ice. When a set alarm level is reached, the ice detector then automatically begins to either heat the rotor blades or stop the turbine operation. This means that potential problems associated with ice formation can be avoided and minimal energy is used in heating the rotor blades. Ultrasonic sensing is a particularly sensitive technology and is able to detect even small amounts of ice as it forms on the turbine blades.

The detector is compact and easy to install and ice detector sensors can be fitted to new and existing turbines regardless of the manufacturer. The ice sensors are also interchangeable and do not require calibration with the main control unit. The LID-3300IP is easy to connect to wind turbine control systems using a relay, current data, serial or TCP/IP interface and operates through a local area network, LAN. Data communication between the sensors and the control unit takes place via an RS-485 channel, which has the advantage of enabling the use of any type of cable of any length. Congealment status, alarms and parameters can be monitored and adjusted through an in-built web-based user interface. The unit allows for two analogue output signals so that both external temperatures and freezing conditions can be measured. The detector’s purpose is to improve turbine production reliability and radically reduce the risks associated with ice formation in arctic conditions.

Proven technology

Labkotec’s LID-3300IP Ice Detector has passed stringent tests carried out by the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT). The company says that the ice detector meets all official requirements and building permit standards. More than 2000 Labkotec ice detectors have been supplied to the largest turbine manufacturers in Europe including Enercon, Nordex, Repower, Vestas as well as GE Wind Energy and are also used in airports and weather stations. In Finland, for example they are used by Finavia for aviation safety applications.

Labkotec Oy is a leading Finnish manufacturer and supplier of electronic level gauges, flow detection devices and alarms, automation and detector technology, and web-based data transmission solutions. With 40 years’ experience in measurement solutions, the company exports more than 50% of its production.

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