Polytech Ice Detection - FAQ

Frequently asked questions about rotor blade based ice detection systems

As an operator of wind turbines, you naturally always face the same challenges: the energy yield should be as high as possible, while the operating costs should be kept low. At the same time, the balancing act between risk and turbine lifetime has to be mastered. In this FAQ we collect the most frequently asked questions about ice detection systems.

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The use of more than 350 rotor blade-based ice detection systems has shown that annual ice-related downtimes are reduced by an average of 63% compared to nacelle-based systems. Depending on the location, an ice detection system pays for itself in just a few years.


Our rotor blade based ice detection system offers clear advantages over nacelle or power curve based systems. The vibration measurement via vibration-sensitive sensors in the rotor blade ensures a time-exact, automatic control of the wind turbine. The sensors measure the icing directly on the vibration behavior of the rotor blade.


The system can also ensure reliable detection of ice-free conditions without prior visual inspection. This saves relevant, operational costs for visual inspection on-site and increases availability through reduced downtimes.


Yes, automatic restart of the wind turbine after the ice from the rotor blades has melted is possible. Ice-free conditions are also reliably detected on the stopped turbine.


Regarding the maintenance-free nature of the system, we must differ between new and older, already installed systems. The control cabinets of our older deliveries still have a fan heater unit. This unit must be replaced at regular intervals (3 years).


All newer systems and systems delivered in the future do not have this unit installed and are therefore maintenance-free for the entire lifetime of the system.


However, we recommend that an inspection of the screw connections of the control cabinet be integrated into the annual maintenance of the wind turbine.

Yes, the ice detection system is certified by DNV-GL. Automatic restart without prior visual inspection by a technician is also certified.


The Polytech ice detection system has been certified by Senvion and Enercon (automatic start/stop solution) and can be ordered directly from them. The Polytech ice detection system is therefore a part of the respective full maintenance contracts with Senvion and Enercon.


For turbines from other manufacturers, we have our manufacturer-independent retrofit system. We offer a particle solution for all types of turbines.


The installation of one system is completed in one day. We discuss with the customer when the installation should take place and integrate the coordination into the maintenance plan of the turbine to avoid conflicts with other maintenance work. The installation is then carried out either by the responsible service center or by a service provider with whom we have been working successfully for several years.


Yes, we also have systems in both older and newer types of Vestas turbines at several locations that produce very good results. We have also equipped Siemens, Gamesa and many other turbines with our retrofit system.


In many regions, the use of a certified ice detection system is required by law in order to reliably shut down the wind turbine in case of icing. In order to keep energy yield losses as low as possible, an ice detection system should switch off as late as necessary and restart automatically as early as possible.


Yes, the ice detection system is certified by DNV-GL and TÜV Nord. We also work together with the authorities to be able to help with approval procedures.


We have a large installed base of ice detection systems, for which we make regular evaluations. If required, we make these evaluations available in the form of anonymous comparative studies with other systems. In addition, there are comparative studies of ice detection systems regarding reliability and performance from independent institutes.


The system measures and learns the natural frequencies of the rotor blades under various operating conditions. As soon as ice masses form on the blades, the vibration behavior of the rotor blades changes. This change enables us to calculate the ice masses on the blades reliably and individually for each blade with a measuring accuracy of less than 9 mm or less than 10 kg per blade.


Even if you are in the fortunate position of not having a major problem with icing losses, an ice detection system offers further advantages. A software upgrade enables a rotor blade condition monitoring system for early damage detection caused by e.g., lightning strikes.


The modular design of the systems allows the extension of the hardware with load sensors for the rotor blades. This way a load history can be created, which is valuable for a later further expert opinion.


No, no additional installation effort is required for this. The rotor blade condition monitoring runs on the same hardware platform as the ice detection system. This means that only a software update is required. This update can be done remotely and will not restrict the operation of the turbine.


What our customers say




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