Benefits of Automating a Wind Turbine Inspection
An unsurprising fact is that windmills have been used ever since 2000 B.C but surprisingly, until 1978, wind turbines would rotate anti-clockwise. With the high rising technology, they would further be upgraded and modified by their automation.
An automatic wind turbine is a device with either a vertical or a horizontal axis, which converts kinetic energy produced by the wind to electrical energy. The blade tips of these wind turbines move up to 200 mph. In order to maintain functions, reliability, and productivity, automated wind turbine inspections are regularly carried out.
What is a Wind Turbine Inspection
Automated wind turbines inspection is a routine series of tests, examinations, evaluations, and reviews of these devices. These are done to identify and rectify any problems or changes that may be detected.
Basically, they are done to ensure that the overall performance and functions of these turbines are running smoothly. However, inspections are usually done regularly even without detection of faults and misperformances.
Reasons of Wind Turbine Inspection
Automated inspection of wind turbines is done for many reasons. Inspections ensure prophylaxis to wearing out, safety and efficiency concerns, which are usually recorded by documentation of the inspection procedures.
The blades of these turbines suffer strikes from lightning, birds, particles of sand in the air, and fatigue. The surfaces of these blades, which play a huge part in the aerodynamics of the blades, also suffer erosion and corrosion from moisture caused by winds, rains, and snow.
Difficulties and Challenges in Inspection
There are a lot of challenges and trials when it comes to inspection of wind turbines. One of the main reasons is that they have a common characteristic of being elevated high above the ground where there are fewer windbreakers. This is a safety hazard to the manual workers who have been compared to spiders for their climbing and have been branded the term ‘sky workers’.
They have to safely climb to extended heights to reach the turbines blades and rotors for inspection and maintenance. To add salt to injury, they have to maneuver and cycle around the rotor and its blades for a thorough inspection. Automating in wind turbine inspection tackles these cumbersome and difficult ways of inspecting as well as reduces the risks that come along with them.
Why automated wind turbine inspection?
Since the inception of wind energy, inspection has always been carried out manually. This means workers have to use cranes or lifts to access the wind turbines to check for faults, carry or repairs and maintenance.
Nowadays, there's automating a wind turbines inspection. How this is carried out is by the use of unmanned aerial vehicles otherwise known as UAVs. These intelligent devices enable maintenance and repair engineers to access the condition of the turbine.
You might be wondering, why automate wind inspection?
First, to cut down on costs. This means faults can be detected in real-time and dealt with before they become a real problem. In addition, the traditional manual inspection was quite costly.
It reduces the times taken to carry out inspection. Manual inspection was time-consuming so speeding up the process makes it worthwhile.
The worker's wellbeing is put in the picture so as not have an accident like fall from height while inspecting the turbine.
Technologies and Softwares used for Inspection
Technology in automation inspection of wind turbines has been implemented to upgrade many inspection procedures. The use of remote-controlled drones that propel high up to the rotors and blades, saves the time of workers and reduces the risks and accidents that may occur thus emphasizing safety.
They can also function during harsh weather conditions unfavorable for workers. Analysis and optimization software is used to create turbine layouts. With this software, energy levels produced by the wind turbines can be easily inspected and monitored hence providing more accurate analysis of the state and conditions of the turbines.
Benefits of Automating a Wind Turbines Inspection
Automating a wind turbine inspection can reap many benefits once the obstacles that come with the procedures are tackled. Reliability, for instance, is one of the major benefits. Automated inspections become more organized, less complicated and more accurate as they are operated by machines and software systems, therefore, more reliable.
Performances of the wind turbines are constantly monitored digitally and qualitatively regardless of weather conditions. The cost reduction for the inspections is also a beneficial factor. Automation has replaced expensive technical skilled workers with computers that can offer prognosis and diagnosis of faults and problems.
When it comes to automated wind turbine inspection, Aeriosense Technologies is a leader in drone-based techniques. They are a pocket and economic friendly company with outstanding project highlights and achievements.
- They provide quick assessment and give accurate details of the conditions of the structures, up to 25 structures a day.
- Inspection flights are reported by power line technicians using current and real time of the inspections.
- Guided drones are piloted to key points of the structures where they monitor conditions of the structures by collecting images.
Aeriosense has further operations of tracking the inspection progress, collecting the required data and plan take-off locations of the drones using Aeriosense software. Qualitative baselines are established to monitor conditions of the components until the next inspections.
Right-of-way (ROW) vegetation intrusions are also monitored by inspection data, which helps to plan for future inspections. According to Quality Wind line transmission inspection, Aeriosense automated inspection is significantly successful. Up to 60% of the time was saved by their inspections in contrast to the time of manual drone inspection. Expenses were fairly low as well, costing only 20% of what was used for the climbing inspections.
Inspections are mandatory for keeping track of equipment and devices. They are key in making sure that durability, effectiveness, and efficiency is maintained by a product over a period of time.
Furthermore, if these inspections are automated, then this maintenance is conducted with ease, increasing productivity and accuracy that comes with the technologies of automation. In comparison to ancient windmills, automated wind turbine inspection is now widely implemented resulting in more advanced wind energy productions all over the globe.