Type examination carried out by DFS Aviation Services, certificate dated 31.02.2021
Following adaptation of the “General Administrative Regulation on the Identification of Aviation Obstacles”, transponder signals can be used for ADLS applications in Germany. At the same time, there is great time pressure due to the current deadlines for mandatory ADLS retrofitting in accordance with the EEG law.
Dark Sky’s decentralized transponder system bypasses all complex integrations into existing networks and provides for a traffic receiver for each aviation obstacle. Detection technology, infrared identification and remote monitoring are already included in a compact module.
11 reasons for the Dark Sky transponder system
1. No network integration
The BNK2020 transponder system has a decentralized structure, which means that each aviation obstacle or wind turbine is equipped with a transponder antenna and connected to the beaconing system directly on site. Remote monitoring is carried out via a mobile radio connection, which, however, has no special requirements in terms of bandwidth and speed. Dark Sky bears the costs for the mobile radio connection within the scope of the service contract. A central Internet connection or integration into the wind farm’s network structure are not required with this ADLS solution.
2. Excellent IT security
Unlike centralized or Internet-based systems, the decentralized BNK 2020 transponder system does not have to be integrated into existing communication networks in the wind turbines or wind farm. This eliminates the need for time-consuming coordination with network operators regarding IP addresses, VLAN and firewalls. The risk of downtime due to network problems or unplanned changes to the network structure can thus be significantly reduced. The system is also protected against attacks from the Internet, as all BNK systems communicate in a mobile network that is separate from the Internet. Access to the systems is only possible via strictly secured VPN dial-in. The operating data can only be viewed via the dark sky portal and is protected from unauthorized access via user rights.
3. A standardized technical solution
Many ADLS systems are modular and combine these different modules to create a project-specific solution. This makes the offers, installation and service of these solutions a time-consuming process, and also increases the susceptibility to errors and the variance of the components. Dark Sky is different: All units of the “BNK 2020” system are based on the same standardized structure and are only adapted to the respective installation situation in the wind turbine. In every wind turbine, there is thus an almost identical installation, which is of great advantage in the case of service. In addition, the installation is limited to the decentralized components in the nacelle of the turbine. Modules can thus be exchanged at any time without exact knowledge of the system design, and the small number of components and variants simplifies procurement and avoids production losses due to missing components.
4. Fast planning, installation and approval
The decentralized structure, the unified design and the absence of any network integration make it possible to install the “BNK 2020” system without time-consuming project planning and detailed knowledge of the wind turbines to be equipped. The type test for the system provides for a two-part site test, whereby the first part is prepared prior to installation and can be used for submission to the state aviation authorities. The second part is created immediately after installation and can also be submitted later. In most cases Dark Sky creates the site inspection itself. Depending on the authority, very fast approval procedures are thus possible, also because the system and the site checks are already known and recognized in most federal states.
5. Site assessment and approval directly from supplier
As a special feature compared to some competitors, Dark Sky can perform the site inspection for the “BNK 2020” system itself without the involvement of external experts. The theoretical part of the site inspection is already completed before installation and can already serve as a first submission to the approval authority; it also defines the type of practical inspection. This second practical part is carried out after installation and can be done largely without test flights, it can usually be completed a few days after installation. Unless the customer has already contracted a third party to perform the site testing, Dark Sky offers the testing as an option in the signal provision or purchase contracts. Additionally, the execution of the permitting process can also be included in the contracts. Extensive experience in these processes, regular coordination with permitting authorities, and the creation of repeatable processes allow Dark Sky to complete these tasks with a high success rate in a short period of time.
6. Compatible to most lighting systems
Dark Sky is compatible with all lighting systems that can be activated and deactivated by external circuitry. This applies to most of the lighting systems currently installed in wind farms, especially older models. It is uneconomical and unsustainable to replace a functioning lighting system only because of uniform BNK interfaces, therefore Dark Sky has developed a wide range of connection options for different lighting models. In case a system cannot be made usable after all, Dark Sky also offers solutions for a retrofit and even takes over the maintenance of the new lighting system if required. Monitoring of these new fires can be done via the Dark Sky online portal. Here, components are used that are developed and manufactured by the sister company ENERTRAG Systemtechnik according to current quality standards. And of course, Dark Sky is also compatible with all “BNK-Ready” offers of the WTG manufacturers.
7. Infrared lighting integrated
Infrared lighting is mandatory for ADLS equipment according to regulations in Germany. Partially IR lights are provided with the “ADLS-Ready” offers of the WTG manufacturers, but in many cases it is necessary to consider a retrofit during the BNK planning. With Dark Sky, you have a choice: By default, two German AVV-certified IR lights are included and set up during installation, but if you have already addressed the issue in other ways, you can deselect this option. Infrared light is not visible, but it is not harmless either: Dark Sky’s IR solution complies with the applicable specifications and is also marked with extensive warnings. The IR lighting is also monitored in function via the BNK system.
8. Fast delivery and stable pricing
Dark Sky schedules the installation of your ADLS system immediately after the contract is signed or after all data is complete and the ADLS interface is clarified. In the order in which the contracts are received, the installation will then be carried out, regardless of any preliminary checks with authorities. With the completion of the site inspection, you will then receive all documents for submission to the approval authority. Dark Sky has secured long-term capacity with service providers to install the ADLS systems. Due to the small number of required components and a foresighted stockpiling, no bottlenecks in material procurement are foreseeable at the moment. However, we strongly recommend a prompt conclusion of a contract in order to secure material and installation capacity as well as current material prices at an early stage. An increase in procurement costs is already foreseeable, but due to our stockpiling we will only have to price these into the new contracts for later production batches.
As a Dark Sky customer, you can conveniently view the operating data of your ADLS system on the Internet. Via our SCADA solution you get access to all wind turbines equipped with Dark System systems via a single access, partly with integration of the status data of IR lights or the lighting. If you want to monitor many WTGs, there is the possibility to access the data via own API. Reports are sent to you conveniently by e-mail or via the portal, and data requests from authorities can be met at short notice in this way. In addition, it can be traced and verified at any time whether and when your BNK system was in operation without errors, that all maintenance was carried out on time and how high the switch-off rate of the firing was.
10. Same conditions independent from project size
Unlike central ADLS systems, with Dark Sky you can simply calculate with fixed prices per WT. Due to the technical solution, it does not matter whether you equip a whole wind farm or a single WTG, effort and costs per WTG are always the same. Cost advantages for a large contract volume therefore also benefit you if you equip a large and spatially distributed WTG portfolio instead of a large wind farm. And even individual turbines or small wind farms can be equipped with BNK at economical conditions. This makes you independent of other operators, cross-project operator models or intermediaries. You always conclude your contract directly with the ADLS provider.
11. Certified, approved and licensed
You do not take any risks with Dark Sky. The company maintains an ISO 9001 certified quality management system and is audited annually by DEKRA. In the company’s history, 4 different ADLS solutions have already been officially qualified and the transponder system “BNK 2020” has also successfully undergone a type approval. Since some patents exist for the operation of transponder-based ADLS systems, these property rights are licensed for the contractual wind turbine within the framework of a license agreement with the patent holder. In order to further standardize the processes in project implementation, a qualification according to APQP4Wind is also being sought.