ZX TM Lidar unit


ZX Lidars


ZX TM wind measurement instrument development initiatives




  • Mechanical engineering
  • Industrial Design
  • Electronic Engineering
  • Testing & evaluation
Following a series of development initiatives with DCA, ZX Lidars has successfully launched their innovative new ZX TM Lidar wind measurement instrument. The DCA team supported ZX Lidars to help develop the design of their innovative ZX TM Lidar unit by providing design input into a number of key elements of the instrument.

The ZX TM consists of two main elements: the Lidar Optical Head (LOH), mounted externally to the wind turbine body or nacelle, and the Lidar Control Unit (LCU), which is fitted internally inside the nacelle. The ZX TM instrument measures wind speed, direction and other wind characteristics from close range and out to over 550m ahead of the blades, across the entire turbine rotor diameter. Collecting data to benchmark the performance of the turbine by comparing its power output to the measured environmental wind speed. The instrument is capable of measuring complex wake flows caused by other wind turbines in its proximity. This data allows wind farm operators and turbine manufacturers to tune and control the turbines across the entire farm in order to optimise their combined power generation performance.

Concepts to improve installation and commissioning

We supported the ZX Lidars team to explore new opportunities for installing and aligning the Lidar Optical Head onto the turbine nacelle. By investigating routes to streamline the design helping field engineers to install the instruments more easily externally on the nacelle at great height.

Guiding the LCU product construction strategy

We took a fresh look at the design of the IP65 rated LCU enclosure based on the lessons learnt from the first prototype. Developing the visual design of the instrument elements to express ZX Lidars’ brand language. In parallel with this, we reviewed the internal hardware control system, providing design recommendations on the electronic hardware architecture to the ZX Lidars team.

To explore the LCU casework design approach we first developed concepts for alternative core construction strategies, each supported with component design proposals. These early component part designs were developed to a level to reflect the proposed manufacturing technique, resolving them to a level suitable for establishing a product concept BOM. This early design and development work enabled an evaluation of projected assembly costs guiding selection on a preferred construction approach.

Following a series of development initiatives with DCA, ZX Lidars has successfully launched their innovative new ZX TM Lidar wind measurement instrument.

The ZX TM instrument is used in extreme environments seeing both arctic and desert conditions. DCA designed the active temperature control system to regulate the temperature inside the sealed casework. Using CFD analysis tools to design the active temperature control system in the LCU. The analysis allowed the DCA team to develop the internal and external airflow paths through the LCU, managing the predicted heat transfer. This iterative analysis helped to refine the predicted performance removing hot spots on critical components in the simulated environmental extremes. Reducing the risk of potential expensive component failures in the first prototype.

Detailed thermal analysis

We supported the ZX Lidars team by testing the first prototype LCU using our in-house environmental test chamber facilities. The aim was to use the environmental testing to confirm the performance at environmental extremes and validate the measured physical performance against the predicted analysis model. The extended physical testing validated the accuracy of the analysis model to less than 3˚C at extreme operating conditions – confirming the suitability of the design and accuracy of our underpinning analysis models.

Validated through extended testing

ZX Lidars are successfully manufacturing the new ZX TM instruments. Implementing them onto wind turbines and improving the power generation performance of wind farms globally.