Current technological advances in condition monitoring are employing an increasing number of complex sensors and advanced monitors to diagnose the operating status and condition of hydro generators and turbines. Advanced systems routinely employed may include bearing vibration, air gap, shaft voltage, and current monitoring, partial discharge, and flux monitoring. Proper interpretation of this often complex information can lower operating and maintenance expenses, in addition to reducing unscheduled outages and catastrophic failures.
However, the volume of available data from these monitors, and the extensive interpretation necessary to evaluate the complex waveforms and spectrums can overwhelm plant personnel and resources. Sophisticated software and algorithms are often necessary to correlate and interpret this data to establish the overall generator and drive train condition. HydroX™ (for Hydro Expert) is a commercial knowledge-based expert system program for on-line monitoring of hydro-generators. Working with the New York Power Authority, the system was developed over five years by Iris Power and GE -Bently Nevada. After a further two years of prototype evaluation at NYPA’s St. Lawrence Power Project on two 60MVA generators, the validated system is now commercially available and will be described.