It’s hard to ignore the escalating demand for renewables in the energy sector, and the change is evident with the number of land-based and offshore wind power installations popping up all over the globe. With new climate targets being taken seriously, we’re seeing the transition towards wind turbines as the supplier of clean and increasingly affordable energy. Another trend is smaller turbines becoming more efficient. This has resulted in a large growth in the physical number of turbines.
With this expansion follows another for more asset integrity assessments. Historically this has involved rope access technicians, drones, and/or telescopic photography. The introduction of a robotic solution reduces or eliminates the need for manned entry, working at heights or in confined spaces, and near the dangerous blade region. Besides increased worker safety, a robust inspection robot can operate in wind and rain and even at night. In collaboration with SPRINT Robotics, Eddyfi Technologies has a shared mandate to improve the quality and safety of the maintenance, inspection, and cleaning of capital-intensive infrastructure. This article shares the Beyond Current solution for inspecting renewable energy assets.
A wind turbine will undergo a range of inspections throughout its entire useful life: from the quality assurance inspection at production and installation, planned preventative maintenance scheduled over the typical five to 10 year warranty period, end-of-warranty inspection for maintenance, repair and overhaul of new components and structure; all the way to non-routine occasional extension of lifetime assessments based on condition monitoring reports.
From beginning to end, the Inuktun MaggHD™ miniature magnetic crawler is a proven constant that can be found performing internal and external remote visual inspection (RVI) of wind turbine towers and blades worldwide. The versatile inspection robot features a 360° continuous tilt camera that can operate in air and underwater in otherwise inaccessible industrial environments. Delivering 1080p resolution real-time video footage, the MaggHD operates on a user-friendly software platform leveraging the variable intensity spot and flood lights and parallel laser lines to collect the precise data required for a comprehensive, comparable inspection report.
The robotic deployment of Eddyfi Technologies’ NDT sensors enables an all-in-one solution for deeper analysis. For example, phased array ultrasonic testing can be performed on composite blades with the Silverwing R-Scan Array (download our eBook on robotics for NDT data collection to take a closer look). The Eddyfi Sharck probe can be used to inspect carbon steel welds for surface-breaking cracks. Our robotic crawlers can access the T-joint construction welds found on offshore wind installations for assessment by Total Focusing Method, or TFM, with the M2M Gekko®. Subsea, Inuktun robotic crawlers have had great success mobilizing Alternating Current Field Measurement, or ACFM®, devices for structural weld inspections.
Beyond NDT, we have developed an OnSpec Custom Solution to fill composite holes with epoxy robotically instead of sending humans into the turbine blade.
Eddyfi Technologies’ robotic platforms are regularly used for tooling and other bespoke remote operations. Numerous adaptations of the MaggHD platform have enabled clients to overcome specific challenges never possible before. Proven in the renewable energy sector, the true potential of this technology is green.
We invite you to contact our experts to discuss your specific requirements for robotic deployment that empowers safer, more productive, and sustainable operations today.