Wind turbine towers and rotor blades are exposed to the whims of the weather. Drone inspection provides a visual or thermographic image of the state of the components.

Benefits of drone inspection

Hail, snow, lightning, rain, salt and dust are just some of the things wind turbine components must endure. Using our drone inspection solution for visual inspection of on- and offshore wind turbines provides benefits such as:
  • safe working environment
  • reduced downtime
  • high quality images and video
  • access to otherwise inaccessible areas
  • dynamic surveying
  • preventive maintenance planning.
A drone inspection is a cost-effective and efficient inspection method compared to traditional telephotography or other manual inspection methods. With a drone inspection solution, you can achieve both visual and thermal images on wind turbines for on-site analysis and assessment regarding the condition of the rotor blades.

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Digital and/or infrared camera inspection

When inspecting wind turbines, the drone can be equipped with a digital camera, a thermographic camera or a combination, depending on the scope of the inspection task. A digital camera provides proof of the visual failures and damages of the tower, nacelle, rotor blades and bolt jointings.

Thermographic inspection is a non-contact and non-destructive inspection method that makes it possible to examine a large area of the blade for structural defects and weaknesses in the blade. With infrared thermography, the drone monitors variations in the surface temperature of e.g. the rotor blades.
The temperature profile of e.g. the blade surface indicates potential defects.

Benefits of infrared thermographic images:

  • Non-contact and non-destructive inspection methods
  • Visualisation of temperature on large areas of e.g. the rotor blade for comparison
  • Examination, measurement and observation of inaccessible or dangerous area
  • Detection of hidden defects and failures
  • Detection of objects in dark areas
  • Detection of erosion and corrosion
  • Examination of abnormalities.

On-site rotor blade inspection

During an on-site inspection, our investigation team will fly the drone to the required position for data capture and start the inspection of the rotor blade, whether it is for a full inspection or specific areas of the rotor blade. The data is stored, making on-site evaluation of the state of the wind turbine possible. The drone lies stable in the air and can handle a wind speed of up to 10 m/s. Therefore, the drone is ideal for inspection of both onshore and offshore wind turbines.
A drone inspection reveals damages to the wind turbine blade and ensures that repairs are carried out in time.

Only experts ought to analyse data

During the aerial inspection, a FORCE Technology pilot operates the drone. During the flight, our certified NDT personnel usually operate the camera, record video and direct the pilot to the points of special interest and views of different angles of the tower, nacelle, rotor blades and bolt jointings.

Under normal circumstances, the drone inspection itself is quickly finished. The heavy workload lies in the analysis of the collected data, and the pictures taken by the drones. It is essential here to enlist relevant experts in analysis to obtain the full value from a drone inspection. Someone lacking the necessary qualified experience may overlook a critical defect or fault, possibly with fatal consequences. 

The FORCE Technology drone solution

An inspection report is produced, based on the analysis of this data, and is usually divided into categories of red, yellow and green priority according to the seriousness of the damage. This report can if needed include a service plan, with recommendations to cost-effective improvements.

At FORCE Technology, we only use drones when we conclude that it is the optimal solution. Based on our extensive experiencewith and knowledge of all types of inspections, we always offer the best solution, tailored made for the job – with or without a drone.

FAQ

Drone inspection.