New Rope Climbing Robot Inspects Wind Turbines Better Than Humans

How do you inspect wind turbine blades for damage? With this cool new robot, obviously! At least that’s what it’s developers at at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation are hoping. It’s called the RIWEA and, pulling itself up a rope system, can work on onshore or offshore turbines of any size, climbing up turbines to discover damage too small to be detected by the human eye:
Inspection System Records Infrared, Thermal, Ultrasonic Data

The inspection system consists of three elements: an infrared radiator conducts heat to the surface of the rotor blades and a high-resolution thermal camera records the temperature pattern and thus registers flaws in the material. In addition, an ultrasonic system and a high resolution camera are also on board, thus enabling the robot to also detect damage that would remain hidden to the human eye. (IFF)

Considering that by one account 60% of wind turbines in the US are behind on regular maintenance such as oil changes and gearbox lubrication, let alone inspection of blades for defects, a potential time and money saving device like this could certainly help out.

More: IFF (press release)

via: The BioEnergy Site
images: IFF
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Tags: Renewable Energy | Wind Power