Wind turbine inspection robots are robotic devices that are used by onshore and offshore wind turbine operators for the inspection and repair of their assets, most notably on the wind turbine blades themselves.
These robotics systems safely and cost-effectively check for blade damage using a variety of blade inspection techniques and technologies, including high-definition cameras for visual inspections and ultrasonic sensors to detect defects occurring below the surface.
While these robots can be deployed with a range of technological capabilities, the cost and safety aspects are also significant drivers for the adoption of wind turbine inspection and repair robots by the wind power industry.
Wind turbines are often located in remote regions and exposed to extreme environments, especially when located offshore. Downtimes and repairs caused by the failure of both onshore and offshore renewable energy assets are costly and the safety implications of a failure are also considerable.
Subjected to hail, rain, humidity, high winds, lightning strikes and millions of load cycles during their lifetime, wind turbine blades often need to be inspected on location. However, manual inspection of a wind turbine blade is dangerous for inspectors using rope or aerial lift access, requires suitable conditions, and is expensive for operators.
Inspecting a vertically positioned blade in situ has also posed challenges for the designers of inspection robots, leading to a range of designs from those that use a combination of suction and tank tracks to traverse the surface of a blade, to suction-cup-legged inspect and repair robots.
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