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Drone Inspection Of Wind Turbine Blades »

A Comprehensive Guide.

Introduction »

We Digital Studio (Estd. 2008), a Mumbai-based production house, offers a cutting-edge pan-India service for wind turbine blade inspection using drones along with solar panels inspection.

This comprehensive guide delves into the process, benefits, and types of defects that can be detected by drones.

Why Use Drones?

Wind turbine blades are subjected to extreme environmental conditions and mechanical stress, making them vulnerable to various types of damage. Regular inspections are essential to:

  • Ensure operational efficiency.
  • Prevent catastrophic failures.
  • Extend the lifespan of the turbine.
  • Optimize energy production.
  • Maintain safety standards.

Traditional inspection methods like visual inspections (technicians use binoculars or telescopes from the ground), rope access (technicians physically climb the turbine to inspect blades up close), and cherry pickers (elevated platforms are used to reach the blades) are time time-consuming risky, and expensive.

All of these are circumvented; when we have an aerial inspection technology like UAV / drone.

Advantages »

  • Safety: Drones eliminate the need for technicians to climb turbines or use elevated platforms, significantly reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Efficiency: Drone inspections are much faster than traditional methods. A single drone can inspect multiple turbines in a day, minimizing downtime and maximizing productivity.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Reduced labor costs and minimized downtime make drone inspections a cost-effective solution. The high-quality data obtained also helps in planning precise maintenance activities, further optimizing costs.
  • Data Quality and Accuracy: Drones capture high-resolution images and videos, providing detailed and accurate data. Advanced sensors can detect defects that might be missed during visual inspections.
  • Environmental Impact: Drones are environmentally friendly, requiring less energy and causing minimal disruption to the surrounding environment compared to traditional inspection methods.

Blade Defects »

  1. Surface Cracks: Surface cracks can occur due to mechanical stress and environmental factors. Drones can capture high-resolution images to detect these cracks early, preventing further propagation.
  2. Erosion: Erosion, especially on the leading edges of blades, is a common issue caused by continuous exposure to wind, rain, and airborne particles. Drones can inspect these areas in detail, identifying areas of significant wear.
  3. Delamination: Delamination refers to the separation of layers within the blade material, often resulting from manufacturing defects or prolonged exposure to stress. Drones can detect changes in surface texture and reflectivity indicative of delamination.
  4. Lightning Strikes: Wind turbines are susceptible to lightning strikes, which can cause severe damage. Drones can inspect for scorch marks, cracks, and other indicators of lightning strikes, allowing for timely repairs.
  5. Leading Edge Damage: Leading edge damage affects the aerodynamic efficiency of the blades. Drones can closely inspect these critical areas, identifying chips, dents, and erosion that could impact performance.
  6. Bonding Defects: Defects in the bonding of blade components can compromise structural integrity. Drones can detect irregularities in bonding lines and other signs of poor adhesion.
  7. Corrosion: Corrosion, particularly in metal components, can weaken the structure. Drones equipped with appropriate sensors can detect early signs of corrosion, ensuring maintenance is performed before serious degradation occurs.
  8. Moisture Ingress: Moisture ingress can lead to internal damage and reduce the blade's overall efficiency. Drones can detect surface anomalies that suggest moisture penetration, enabling preventive measures.

Wind Energy Companies »

  • Enercon GmBH
  • Envision Group
  • General Electric Company
  • Inox Wind Ltd.
  • Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA
  • Suzlon Energy Ltd.
  • Tata Power Company
  • Vestas Wind Systems AS
  • Wind World India Ltd.

The Inspection Process with Digital Studio »

Phase 1: Pre-Inspection Planning

Digital Studio conducts a thorough pre-inspection planning phase, including:

Once the project confirmation is received via. email along with a Purchase / Work Order and advance fees, we plan the shoot as per the client's schedule and other projects underway.

  • Site Assessment: Evaluating the site conditions and turbine locations. Since we provide pan-India drone services, the entire list of sites in the respective states is planned and the logistics of the shoot are shared with the client. With in-house equipment and of range of drones, we guarantee the best in class services and results.
  • Risks: Identifying potential hazards and establishing safety protocols. The most common dangers are high winds and high-tension power transmission lines.
  • Client Consultation: Understanding the client's specific needs and objectives. This is typically documented in a document or an worksheet.

Phase 2: On-Site Drone Deployment

Trained drone pilots from Digital Studio deploy drones equipped with advanced cameras and sensors. The process includes:

  • Setting Up: Preparing the drones and setting up the necessary equipment.
  • Calibration: Ensuring all sensors and cameras are calibrated for optimal data capture.
  • Flight Plan Execution: Flying the drones around the turbine blades, capturing images and data from multiple angles. 4k videography and high-resolution photography of the turbine blades are done from various angles.
  • On-Site Client Approval: On all the shoots we require a representative from the client to be present for the shoot. This ensures that none of the important elements of the inspection are missed.

Phase 3: Data Delivery

All the raw data from the pan-India sites is collated and shared with the client either on a pen drive or online.

Why Us »

At Digital Studio, we bring over 15 years of experience and expertise to the table, providing premier drone inspection services throughout India.

Our extensive industry presence has endowed us with unmatched knowledge and proficiency, enabling us to consistently lead in innovation and quality.

Conclusion »

Wind turbine blade inspection using drones is a transformative approach that enhances safety, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

Digital Studio, based in Navi Mumbai, offers a professional and comprehensive pan-India service, leveraging advanced drone technology to ensure the optimal performance of wind turbines across the country.

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