FORCE Technology, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and DTU have cooperated in developing an autonomous robot that can scan the surface of wind turbine blades before leaving the factory. The development of the robot has taken place in a publicly funded MADE-project.

The project has been part of the MADE (Manufacturing Academy of Denmark) research within sensors and quality control (in Danish). The robot was built and tested in FORCE Technology's facilities and then tested in Siemens Gamesa's blade factory in the city of Aalborg.

Autonomous robot that adapts to the individual blade

The robot scans the blade surface with a 3D scanner. The surface is crucial for the blade's aerodynamics and thus performance. By 3D scanning the blade you get important information about any surface defects and imperfections. This information can subsequently be used to plan maintenance and optimise casting moulds.

The blade scanner automatically adapts to each individual blade and finds out for itself what and where to scan. Therefore, no pre-programming is needed, making it a unique robot.

The technology is not only reserved for wind turbine blade manufacturers. There are perspectives for the solution in several other contexts e.g. if you want to find internal defects on large structures, the robot could be equipped with an ultrasonic system. It could be bridges, pipe constructions or towers for wind turbines which are large constructions that it would be beneficial to have a 3D model of.

Read more og the MADE website or (both sites are in Danish).
Prototype of the autonomous robot that 3D scans wind turbine blades before they leave the manufacturing site. Here seen during tests at our facility.