Beckhoff Automation GmbH & Co. KG

Wahmstr. 56DE23552Lübeck
Phone:+49 (0)451 203988-0
Fax:+49 (0)451 203988-20
PC-based control: The universal control platform for wind turbines

More than 70,000 wind turbines all over the world have been automated using Beckhoff technology, each providing up to 10 MW capacity, including in regions with extreme climatic conditions.


With PC- and EtherCAT-based control technology, Beckhoff implements system solutions that have been tried and tested worldwide: more than 70,000 wind turbines all over the world have been automated using Beckhoff technology, each providing up to 10 MW capacity.

Reliable Condition Monitoring: easily integrated in three steps

An Embedded PC with line-connected I/O modules, EtherCAT as universal communication system and TwinCAT automation software functions serve as the central control system. The modularity of the hardware and software portfolio enables users to configure a controller that exactly matches the performance requirements of their system and allows subsequent extensions and modifications – such as for example a retrofit of Condition Monitoring functions, without great expense.

The operation and maintenance of modern wind turbines incurs considerable costs. To maintain competitiveness, operators must minimise failure risks, reduce maintenance costs and increase the availability and energy efficiency of the system. This is where Condition Monitoring enters the game: seamless monitoring of gear units and generators is generally recommended, not just for offshore wind turbines or systems in remote regions, but for all. Beckhoff marries the powerful processors of modern PC technology together with EtherCAT as fast communication system, integrating Condition Monitoring functionality seamlessly into the controller. The vibrations of bearings or electrical machines are picked up by standard measurement terminals from Beckhoff and transmitted to the controller via EtherCAT. Configuration, programming and diagnostics are carried out within one system using TwinCAT.

System-integrated Condition Monitoring
With improved error detection and holistic system analysis capabilities, the control system-integrated Condition Monitoring from Beckhoff is superior to conventional hardware-based Condition Monitoring solutions.

High-frequency data acquisition via EtherCAT Terminals
For grid voltage monitoring, two EtherCAT Terminals are available from Beckhoff: the EL3783 power measurement terminal with oversampling function for status monitoring in a 3-phase AC network, and the EL1252 digital input terminal with timestamp function for the chronologically precise detection of binary control signals.

The retrofit of a wind turbine with Condition Monitoring can be realized by simply adding a terminal block with the corresponding EtherCAT measurement terminals to the turbine controller. A multi-functional input for analog measurement technology is available in the EL3751 EtherCAT Terminal. The EL3632 enables the direct connection of various acceleration sensors via an IEPE interface and performs high-precision vibration measurement. Strain gauges (SG) can be evaluated via the EL3356-0010. The raw data are recorded synchronously (<< 1 µs) with other system data, such as power and speed, which increases the reliability of the data and reduces the number of false alarms. A modular tool kit of mathematical algorithms for the analysis of measured values is available in the TwinCAT Conditioning Monitoring library. The library provides all essential functions for analysis, statistics and classification. Combining these algorithms with limit value monitoring is for instance, ideally suited to monitoring roller bearings.

We also recommend the utilization of special solutions from established third-party vendors, which can be directly integrated into the Beckhoff control platform, giving users access to extended diagnostics capabilities, reports, and long years of experience of these providers in consulting regarding monitoring.

If component-related threshold values are exceeded, the Condition Monitoring system triggers alarms to inform about wear, imbalances or impermissible operating states. In addition, the continuous machine monitoring can be carried out online. Trends in the characteristic values are analyzed and translated into recommendations for action, for example in the planning of maintenance intervals.

System-integrated Condition Monitoring

  • Time-synchronous data logging in << 1 µs
  • Reliable data analysis
  • Enhanced diagnostics
  • Increased system availability
  • Longer service life of wind turbines
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Reduced system costs
  • Enhanced competitiveness
Members of:
  • Hersteller- und Zuliefererbeirat
more data:
  • Founded: 1980
  • Sales: € 903 million (2019)
  • Employees: 4,350