Before we discuss the advantages of using drone technology to inspect wind turbines, let us discuss the importance of inspecting wind turbines. The wind turbines are exposed to hailstorm, lightning, rain, heat, the UV rays, humidity and dust 24x7x265. These factors leave an immense impact on the turbines, including their rotor blades. The blades of the wind turbines are mainly damaged due certain obvious factors like extreme laid buckling or in certain cases, manufacturing defects that lead to de-bonding.
During the inspection of the turbine blades, the professionals will mainly look for:
- Cracks and damages, peeling off paints and corrosion in the tower,
- Cracks, peeling pains lightning traces, deterioration, signs of water penetration in blades
- Lightning traces, damage and cracks, oil splits, corrosion, damage in the nacelle
- Skewness, structural damage and loose connection in the Hub
Now when it comes to inspecting these wind turbines, drones are extensively used these days besides the conventional methods. Use of drones has multiple advantages. Let us discuss them on this page.
The Advantages of Using Drones
The Reduce Risk Factor and speeds up the inspection: One of the main advantages of using drones is that they eliminate the risk factor of the workers and significantly reduces the inspection time by 70%.
They eliminate the shut down time: Manual inspection of the wind turbines is associated with prolonged shutdown time. However, the introduction of drones has eliminated the need for prolonged shutdown periods.
They offer full site assessment: Application of drones can provide full site assessment of a wind turbine. The modern drones are equipped with high resolution cutting edge cameras that can inspect a wind turbine thoroughly without hampering its functionality or needing any physical access to the wind turbine.
High resolution drone imageries produce better data: The modern drones generate high resolution images of the areas that even the climbers are unable to see or gain access. These drones would snap images of the wind turbines from any angle, distance and location including the points where no human can reach.
These high resolution images taken by the drones are then uploaded in high performance computers having specialised software platforms that analyse the images and identify the problems and solutions thereof.
These drones can be launched into the air in a jiffy for collection of both thermal as well as visual data. These UAVs collect all the required data within seconds while the inspectors and technicians control the entire mission from the ground safely. Besides, inspection with the use of drones can maximise energy production and deliver clean energy safely by repeated & consistent preventive wind turbine inspections.