HID Global > Case Studies > HID Global’s Passive RFID Sensor TAGs Revolutionize GE Hydro's Generator Installations

HID Global’s Passive RFID Sensor TAGs Revolutionize GE Hydro's Generator Installations

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 HID Global’s Passive RFID Sensor TAGs Revolutionize GE Hydro's Generator Installations - IoT ONE Case Study
Technology Category
  • Networks & Connectivity - RFID
  • Sensors - Temperature Sensors
Applicable Industries
  • Equipment & Machinery
  • Renewable Energy
Applicable Functions
  • Human Resources
  • Maintenance
Use Cases
  • Asset Lifecycle Management
  • Structural Health Monitoring
  • System Integration
  • Testing & Certification
The Customer
About The Customer
GE Hydro is a wholly-owned subsidiary of GE Renewable Energy, providing a full range of solutions for small and large hydropower installations. Their services include machinery and equipment sensor integration, testing and measurements, and data interpretation through its Asset Performance Management (APM) platform. GE Hydro’s customers are located around the world and include integrators and government-owned companies, federal utilities, independent power producers, and investors. They operate in severe environments, often dealing with aging connections between the rotor poles of their installations, which can cause drastic temperature rises and unplanned failures in production.
The Challenge
GE Hydro, a subsidiary of GE Renewable Energy, provides solutions for hydropower installations, including machinery and equipment sensor integration, testing, measurements, and data interpretation. However, they faced a significant challenge in monitoring the conditions of their installations. Hydropower installations are located in severe environments, often with aging connections between the rotor poles that exhibit drastic temperature rises and cause unplanned failures in production. Traditional solutions like batteries, direct wired connections, infrared devices, and fiber-based temperature sensors were ineffective due to the harsh conditions, high radial accelerations, and the proximity of metal parts. Furthermore, the high speed of transit in front of the antenna, which can go up to 250 km per hour, posed additional challenges. Monitoring, collecting, and managing reliable data with a small RFID TAG was a major technical challenge due to the high currents and related electromagnetic fields inside the enclosure where the RFID chip in the generator is located.
The Solution
To overcome these challenges, GE Hydro partnered with Asygn, a developer and semiconductor integrated device manufacturer, to use the AS3211 IC that met all of GE Hydro’s requirements. However, to create an industrial-grade solution, the system also needed a properly tuned antenna within the RFID bandwidth capable of powering the complete acquisition chain and components of the chip. HID Global, a TAG provider for the UHF condition monitoring sensors, was enlisted to solve this challenge. They integrated the TAG antenna with the RFID chip to ensure the antenna’s reliability and integrity during the massive radial acceleration of the hydro turbines. The solution encompasses Asygn’s chip, which captures temperature and strain measurements when the HID’s TAG antenna forwards that data to an RFID reader. The RFID reader works as an intelligent gateway capable of calibrating, collecting, filtering, averaging, and transmitting data locally. Data aggregation and modeling happens through GE Hydro’s Asset Performance Management (APM) platform, which uses machine-learning analytics with local context and parameters to avoid any false positive and push erroneous standardization in the model itself.
Operational Impact
  • The implementation of HID Global’s Passive RFID Sensor TAGs has brought significant operational benefits to GE Hydro. The TAG’s lightweight and innovative design, which is insulated and resistant to extremely high voltages, makes the solution ideal for hydropower applications. The TAGs can now improve cyber-physical models associated to generator cooling and hydraulic efficiency, an important requirement for mean generator enclosure temperature and shaft line torque measurements. The solution also allows for the enhancement of network power factor and voltage regulation, which are critical today with intermittent renewable energy sources from wind and solar plants. Furthermore, the new addition of time-to-action analytics informs when an equipment anomaly will reach an alarm limit and require immediate action, enabling operational managers and maintenance engineers to optimize maintenance prioritization and scheduling to keep operations running with a cohesive workflow plan in place.
Quantitative Benefit
  • The risks of major failures due to copper fusion in a rotating machine are now drastically minimized.
  • The solution allows pushing the hydropower equipment to the limits, enhancing network power factor and voltage regulation.
  • The temperature and strain data are sent to the APM and GE Expert platforms, enabling real-time machine availability monitoring.

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