NEWS Tiny signals from electric motors could prevent major accidents

Tiny signals from electric motors could prevent major accidents

This article/press release was sponsored by NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology – read more

Listening to the magnetic field of the motor can detect the fault of the electric vehicle in time.

“What we do can be compared to what a doctor does, the motor is our patient. Just like a doctor takes an EKG of a patient’s heart, we collect the signal from the machine and analyze it,” says Hossein Ehya, a researcher at HydroCen and NTNU Say.

Electrical failure could lead to crash

Imagine you’re driving a Tesla down the highway, perhaps at 100 to 110 kilometers an hour. Suddenly, your car starts to accelerate, the speed increases and you can no longer control the car. Then you hit a rock.

The serious consequences of motor failure are not difficult to imagine.

“Since 2010, there have been multiple accidents like this. Imagine what would happen if an electric airliner had this failure.” Politicians are pushing for all-electric planes, and Norway is one of the leading countries in electrification. If the engine of an electric aircraft stops suddenly, in the worst case the plane could crash,” Ehya said.

Research on generators in hydroelectric power plants

Ehya holds a master’s degree from the University of Tehran, but chose Norway and NTNU to further study monitoring and diagnostics of electric motors. Ehya’s PhD work at the environmentally friendly research center HydroCen has the potential to create new technological workplaces related to electrification and the green transition.

“What we need are affordable, easy-to-use devices that can pre-emptively detect failures,” he said.

Until now, the large generators at Norwegian hydropower plants have been the focus of machine learning and troubleshooting research using magnetic field measurements.

When Norwegian hydroelectric plants are forced to stop production to find faults and make repairs, failures and damage inside the power plant’s generators can result in huge costs.

Prof. Arne Nysveen supervised Ehya’s doctoral work. Here, he discusses error detection with master’s students in the SmartGrid Lab.

like a medical checkup on an electric motor

Generators in hydroelectric power plants were often installed decades ago, and little is known about the zero state of the machine—that is, how it was supposed to behave before anything went wrong. This makes troubleshooting difficult with today’s diagnostic tools, Ehya said.

“Many methods of finding faults in generators require understanding how they behave when they are ‘healthy’. But this kind of precise analysis is often not done until the generators are in service. For example, we can measure vibrations in generators, And that way we can identify what the problem is, but we can’t say exactly what the problem is,” he said.

There are many problems that can arise inside a motor.

You could have a short in the stator, which is the stationary part of the motor where the coils are, or in the rotor itself, the moving part that, along with the stator, creates the magnetic field in the motor. The rotor could become skewed, or other vital components could suffer mechanical damage.

“The motor doesn’t give us any signs of failure – until it fails. That’s why regular inspections have to be done. The machine has to be stopped to check for failures and to do maintenance, but if the failure can’t be found during the inspection, the machine will A malfunction occurred,” Ehya said.

The researchers have tested the method at the Kalvedalen power station (HafslundEco).

The researchers have tested the method at the Kalvedalen power station (HafslundEco).

save time and money

With current methods, machines must be disassembled to install internal sensors or inspected using external measuring equipment.

Installing sensors is onerous work that power plant owners are often reluctant to do. External inspection measures vibration or voltage changes, which can tell us if there is a problem, but the equipment is not very sensitive and is usually not used until it is too late.

“With our method, we use a very affordable sensor that can be installed on the outside of a machine in a matter of minutes. The sensor measures the machine’s magnetic field and analyzes it. Researchers can then determine whether the machine is healthy or faulty Symptoms. They can also identify the problem,” Ehya said.

According to researchers at HydroCen, the new technology could save electricity producers a lot of money. The cost of stopping and removing a generator can quickly add up to tens of thousands of euros, along with the risk of losing revenue in the event of a shutdown.

With Ehya’s sensors, machines can be monitored and the data analyzed in the cloud using artificial intelligence.

Here the signal shows that one of the coils is shorted. The strength and length of the bars showing coil breaks are reduced.

The signal here shows that one of the coils is shorted. The strength and length of the bars showing coil breaks are reduced.

Made in Norway

So far, the new method has been tested on generators at two hydroelectric power plants in Norway, but Ehya and his colleagues expect it to be useful in the automotive and transportation industries, on Norwegian oil platforms and in wind power. effect.

The project is currently in the commercialization phase and the research team is collaborating with Rolls Royce, IKM, Statkraft and Captiva. Ehya also has no plans to take the patents away from Norway.

“The Norwegian Research Council has donated €500,000 to enable us to continue our work. This is Norwegian oil money, money donated by Norwegian taxpayers. If my work here allows us to create jobs and income in Norway, I’ll just do it. It’s my way of giving back a little bit of the support I get here,” Ehya said.

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