Strat Aero plc LON:AERO, an international aerospace services company focused on the provision of training solutions, management systems and consultancy services to the global aviation market, has today announced the launch of its product / website; WindSpect (www.windspect.com), a revolutionary wind turbine blade inspection solution that combines the Company’s expertise in the provision of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (‘UAV’) services with Air Fusion’s (formerly Vantage Point Aerospace) innovative software and analytics, to offer superior assessment capabilities and significant cost savings to wind farm operators. WindSpect is a collaboration between Strat Aero and AirFusion, a leader in airborne sensor data fusion software and analytics technology, and is in line with the Company’s strategy to capitalise on the rapidly emerging UAV sector in both the military and wider commercial markets.
Modern wind turbines have an estimated lifespan of 20 years. The wind market recognises that proper maintenance of turbine blades begins with regular inspection. The most common wind turbine damage is erosion, cracks and skin de-bonding. Currently, inspections of blades are primarily done visually by an inspector on a rope harness, which can be time consuming (up to six hours), expensive, inaccurate and extremely dangerous. To minimise downtime and boost generating efficiency, implementing a quick and cost-effective maintenance programme is critical.
WindSpect combines Strat Aero’s leading position as a provider of UAV training and services with AirFusion’s patent pending and highly advanced Wind Edition Inspection software and analytics. Within an hour, an accurate report on each turbine can be generated revealing damage that is difficult or impossible to detect with the unaided human eye such as hidden cracks, foreign bodies, depositions of water, loose adhesive joints and uneven coating.
Potential wind farm customers are being sourced through New Amsterdam Global Solutions LLC (‘New Amsterdam’) with whom Strat Aero International Inc. has a marketing and sales agreement as well as a six month option to acquire a 70% interest. In addition to this ongoing test programme, Strat Aero LON:AERO and New Amsterdam are actively marketing Strat Aero’s UAV turbine and inspection services to the wind turbine and transmission lines industry in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Strat Aero PLC LON:AERO CEO Capt. Russell Peck, commented: “We are very excited to be partnering with AirFusion to offer the wind turbine industry this revolutionary solution. As the industry continues to grow, regular inspection and maintenance of blades are becoming critical tools for wind turbine operators. Our collaborative approach provides the industry with the most cost-effective and accurate solution on the market today. We believe this is a winning combination.
“Together with our marketing and sales agreement with New Amsterdam, an independent industrial and energy sales and marketing group, Strat Aero is ideally placed to replicate the leading role it is playing in the provision of UAV training and services to the military sector in the rapidly emerging and potentially much larger commercial UAV market. With a programme to test UAV turbine and blade inspection services on a number of wind farm sites owned by major US operators currently underway, I look forward to providing further updates on our progress in due course.”
Dennis Chateauneuf, CEO of AirFusion, said: “This is an exciting time to be in the wind and energy industry. For years, the energy industry has been in search of a smarter, more reliable and efficient inspection solution. Our extensive expertise in developing technology for aerospace, technology and government entities has led us to create a software solution that is far more accurate than a manual approach. We are pleased to have found a partner in Strat Aero to bring our combined expertise to market and look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with them globally.”