Air Inspect (www.airinspect.com), an aerial inspection and survey specialist combining unmanned aerial vehicles and software-based damage-detection, was unveiled today at the EWEA Wind Power Conference 2015 in Paris. The revolutionary new approach can inspect all 3 blades and deliver a thorough and accurate report in around 60 minutes.
With thousands of wind turbines coming to the end of their 20 year design life the challenge to owners is how to safely extend the productivity of their assets. This can be achieved with proper maintenance, which begins with regular inspections. Today inspections are usually done visually by an inspector either in a rope harness, on a cherry picker or from the ground using binoculars. This manual approach is time-consuming, expensive, error-prone and extremely dangerous. Typically, it can take 4-6 hours to complete the inspection and produce a written report of any damage and recommendations for repair.
Implementing an improved method that can offer safer access, reduced downtime, and more reliable analysis is critical. Air Inspect took their expertise with camera-mounted UAVs and combined it with image-recognition software and sophisticated analytics developed specifically for wind turbines. A two-man team of pilot and inspector use image sensors on an aerial platform to rapidly gather data on all 3 blades. The data is then uploaded to servers where intelligent damage-detection algorithms identify and assess subtle damage not easily detected by the unaided human eye including hidden cracks, foreign bodies, depositions of water, loose adhesive joints and uneven coating. A report is automatically generated that can be directly exported to standard wind energy industry ERP, CMMS and SCADA compatible systems. With regular inspections the software tracks the condition of every blade and tower to build a true predictive map of wind farm health over time.
Sam Livingstone, Managing Director of Air Inspect said “We’re very excited to be offering the wind industry this innovative new solution. As more wind turbines are being built finding a safe, accurate and cost-effective alternative to manual inspections has become increasingly important. By combining our expertise in unmanned aerial systems with the latest advances in machine-vision and intelligent software analytics, we are able to offer the wind industry with the safest, most accurate and cost-effective solution in the market“.
For additional information about Air Inspect Ltd, visit www.airinspect.com or follow us on twitter @airinspect.
For more information about Air Inspect services contact Sam Livingstone at [email protected] or +44 (0)7956 601612.
About Air Inspect Ltd
Air Inspect specializes in automation of inspections and surveys of critical infrastructure using UAV, or drone, technology and sophisticated software-based analytics. Its founder Sam Livingstone spent several years heading a team at CineFlite, one of the leading UAV cinematography companies in the UK, before developing the potential uses of UAVs for industrial inspections. Air inspect consists of a core team of experienced and certified pilots, qualified surveyors and software partnerships. Using this combined expertise Air Inspect continues to explore and develop automated solutions for essential but dangerous tasks across several industries.