Offshore wind power has the last decade experienced growth from a marginal industry to a major renewable energy source with today 3,600 offshore wind turbines installed across 81 offshore wind-farm sites in Europe. Falling capital costs (CAPEX) increase focus on the long term operational and maintenance (O&M) costs. Many turbines operate outside their original warranty period putting the maintenance costs on the wind farm operator rather than the turbine manufacturer. Turbine blades represent a large proportion (22% of the overall turbine cost. Today there is no means of direct inspection of the internal structure of turbine blades. The worldwide failure rate for all wind turbine blades is annually ca. 0.5% accounting for 3,800 annual failures. Lack of inspection data hinder the effectiveness of analytics. The RADBLAD 3 project address O&M costs of offshore wind turbines and demonstrate the large impact of robotics to in-field wind turbine blade inspection. A robotic platform will be developed and demonstrated for enabling the process of blade structural inspection. The robot will climb the tower with an extendable arm with the X-Ray Radiography system to inspect the turbine blades. This will enable imaging of the internal structure of the blade to investigate damage and defects. Trials will demonstrate the robotic platform in realistic conditions, and will introduce a new, complementary flow of data and analysis to current methodology. TECHNI AS is a Norwegian leading R&D consultancy with 36 employees with special focus on mechatronics, control and automation. Their strategy involves robotics in maintenance operations as well as enabling improvements in monitoring, collecting data and use data simulation and machine learning. The RadBlad project will include WPs involving data collection and analysis system, the portable X-ray imaging system HW and SW, manufacture and integration of enhanced system components and performance assessment of the RADBLAD system.
Project leader: Rune Nilsen
Institution: TECHNI AS