These robots inspect and repair wind turbines, so humans don’t have to
Robotics company Aerones saves time and the human workforce by cleaning and inspecting wind turbines with remote-controlled robots.
For the blades of wind turbines, erosion is a huge problem. The blade surface ages gradually due to small airborne particles, ice, snow, and rain. It harms the turbine blade's aerodynamics over time by wearing off the outer layer of the blade. Over the course of the turbine's lifetime, less and less energy is produced as a result. As a result, regular wind turbine blade maintenance is crucial to maintaining the blades' structural integrity and extending the machines' life.
According to Aerones, its robots can save downtime on wind turbines by four to six times and reduce downtime by five to ten times, thus increasing the annual energy production by 12 percent. Turbine downtime rises due to larger turbines, and blades are harder to maintain using traditional techniques. Each hour a turbine is not in operation costs more and more money as power prices rise.
How does the robot work?
The building block of the base platform of the Aerones Wind Turbine Leading Edge Repair Robot is the modular toolkit. This winch system allows controls in both vertical and horizontal spaces. The modular toolkit enables the attachment of different robotic arms with various maintenance and inspection functions, such as promoter and surface sanding and cleaning, filler solution application, 3M protective tape removal, and promoter and leading edge protection coating.
Aerones' robots clean the towers and their blades by spraying them with liquid detergent. The robots also collect contaminated liquid from skits and belts and funnel it to a filtering station.
The robots examine the blades using ultrasound scanning and cameras and repair them by cleaning the damaged areas and filling any gaps or eroded surfaces. They can also use a specific coating to stop ice from developing on the turbines in colder climates and a protective coating to avoid further damage.
The company has cleaned over 5,000 turbines in 19 different countries and is developing more cutting-edge repair technologies planned to launch in 2023.
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