The Answer Is Blowing in the Wind

Source: ControlDesign.com

Oct 02, 2008

Poul van Slooten
Control High
WES Technical Manager Eng. Poul van Slooten stands on the top of the turbine, 40 m high, where the panel controls the PLC.
Source: WES
Holland’s Wind Energy Solutions (WES) has been manufacturing wind power turbines since 2003. WES sells 95% of its turbines, whose generator capacities range 2.5-250 kW, outside of the Netherlands.

Its most popular turbines are the 80 kW WES18 and its big sister WES30 (250 kW). Each turbine is controlled by a PLC. A terminal that shows actual wind speed, wind direction, rotor speed and amount of power generated is located on the control panel as a user interface. It also provides the cumulative kWh production and history data of the above-mentioned operating and performance parameters.

The controller and the electrical system are fail-safe-designed, which means in case of a failure the turbine goes in a safe position. The microprocessor shows and records detailed information about the failure.
In 2005, Wind Energy Solutions developed a new control cabinet for its 80 kW turbines.This new design later was included in the 250 kW turbine installations, as well.

With new cabinets came the need for new operator panels, and Beckhoff Automation, which supplied the PLCs, pointed WES to Beijer Electronics. “The Beijer display has a very good interface with the PLC,” says Eng. Poul van Slooten, technical manager at WES. “Since our turbines often are installed in very remote and isolated areas that are hard to get to, we need products that are strong and dependable, but also easy to work with, since our users are not electronic engineers.”