SKF donates software, hardware to wind research and training center


Mesalands Community College’s North American Wind Research and Training Center (NAWRTC) recently received condition monitoring hardware and software valued at approximately $30,000 from SKF Group. SKF is one of the leading global suppliers of condition monitoring services including the SKF @ptitude Asset Management System, which will allow NAWRTC to monitor and record data trends to understand the health and reliability of the college’s 1.5-megawatt wind turbine.

The SKF @ptitude Asset Management System consists of hardware and software to monitor vibration data that will assist NAWRTC in predicting possible failures. The college will also be able to perform preventative and proactive maintenance in advance, in order to reduce unnecessary downtime.

There are 1,800 of these systems installed worldwide. According to Gregory J. Ziegler, business development manager for online systems at SKF, Mesalands Community College will be the first institution for wind in North America to receive a software donation from SKF.

“Our SKF @ptitude System software is used globally to provide remote monitoring and asset health to wind turbine owners, operators and equipment manufacturers,” Ziegler said. “And it’s important for the students at NAWRTC to be exposed to this intelligent type of equipment that is widely utilized in the industry. These students and the technology are vital to the industry’s success.”

Ziegler and two other representatives of the SKF team installed the new hardware inside the nacelle of the turbine.

Wind energy student Max Stoltz, 23, from Fort Worth, Texas, was able to monitor the installation of the equipment and learn about the many capabilities of the software and hardware.

“I think it's good experience to be able to learn from other companies in the industry, and I welcome the opportunity to familiarize myself with the components of the turbine,” Stoltz said.

Many machines with rotating parts are utilizing software and hardware similar to the SKF @ptitude System to monitor sound vibration data. This system is very common in more mature industries.

“This donation will assist the College in acquiring sophisticated data to continue to develop the research portion of the North American Wind Research and Training Center,” said Dr. Phillip O. Barry, president of Mesalands Community College. “We are also appreciative of this donation to enhance the training experience of our students.” 

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