GE Global Research asked some of our interns to share why they wanted to work here and what they’ve learned during their experience. This is the third in a series of intern blogs. Here’s what Baoyun Ge had to say…
From the very beginning when I began studying the power area, I heard many impressive stories about GRC, ranging from the work done in home appliances to high performance machine drive systems. My research is in electric machines and GRC has a leading position in this area. I had no second thoughts about working here this summer as an intern and looked forward to this wonderful opportunity as I drove from Wisconsin to New York.
I have been working on two projects: 1) Fault detection in drivetrain system, 2) Simulation of doubly fed induction machine with cracked end ring.
Drivetrain is a system delivering power to the driving wheels. It consists of components like electric machine, drive, gearbox and bearings. A faulty condition in any of these components would impact the system performance over its lifetime. The traditional approach to detect a faulty condition is to mount different sensors at various locations where a fault may occur. To reduce system cost and complexity, the electric machine itself is used as a sensor to detect faulty condition, as all the components are coupled (virtual shaft). The work I did at GRC involved developing a new algorithm to further improve the performance of fault detection.
Doubly fed induction machine has been used in the wind energy system for a long time. End ring crack occurs for mechanical reasons, including heat and structural. Multiple cracking will cause the system to fail. Because the cost to repair the system is so expensive, we are looking for the possible failure signature in the system before it goes into severe faulty condition. The work I did here was to find the possible failure signature through simulation.
From these projects, I gained more experience in DSP (digital signal processing), Matlab Coding and FEA (finite element analysis), which are key to obtaining my PhD degree. During the two months I have been at GRC, I have really enjoyed learning about the exciting technologies that GE is working on and getting to know the wonderful people who work here.
Personally, I like cool technology. Even though the technology here is more application/business oriented, which forces me to think about what the customer needs (contrary to what I do in graduate school), the trade-off between cost and performance, and operability, I can still feel the innovation and enthusiasm. I learned a lot of frontier technology during the lab tour, like 3D printing, nanotech, smart-grid, etc. I even got my own 3D printer after the lab tour and I am having fun with it. I also had the opportunity to visit the GE Power & Water plant. I felt so excited when I saw these big electric monster machines, which made the tiny machine I made before pale in comparison. Every detail in these machines represents decades of accumulated experience.
Colleagues here have been willing to help me in every aspect. Technically, my project leaders guide me in the right direction step by step. I had little experience in signal processing, which I needed to understand for my project. My project leaders looked at my project and exposed potential problems, based on their knowledge and experience. They then stepped back to let me find the reason for the problem and figure out how I would tackle it. Office colleagues were equally experienced and friendly, and helped answer questions I had in graduate school. I had a great time working with them all.
I appreciate this great working experience at GRC and I hope my work here contributes to the company’s technical success.
Baoyun Ge is a PhD student studying electrical and computer engineering/power engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been working as a 2014 summer intern in the Electrical Machines Lab at GE Global Research.