While traditionally the wind-energy industry has relied on manual turbine inspections, technological advances with small drones are now making it possible to inspect wind turbines more thoroughly, safely, easily and a lot more quickly than ever before. An added advantage is that drones can also get valuable footage of damage done to the turbine’s blade tips, which are some of the most difficult and dangerous parts of the turbine to inspect manually in all wind turbine surveying jobs.
Today, wind-turbine companies are discovering new, cheaper and more efficient ways to perform wind turbine surveying projects on their property.
How do drones reduce wind turbine surveying costs with better results?
Drones are solving many problems that wind-energy equipment managers have struggled with for years. For example, it often takes several hours for staff technicians to individually climb and inspect each turbine tower. This expensive, time-consuming method usually leads to irregular inspection and maintenance schedules due to the greater amount of personnel needed. Furthermore, close-up inspections by wind-turbine service technicians also increase the company’s liability for personal injuries.
Some companies lower the costs of inspecting wind turbines by using powerful digital single-lens reflex cameras, commonly known as “DSLR” cameras, that photograph the wind turbine from the ground at every angle possible. However, this method has many limitations. Since most wind turbines have three blades that are each about 140 feet long, it takes around two hours to inspect each turbine this way. Plus, no DSLR camera can capture every angle of the turbine from the ground either, so some damages won’t show up in an inspection at all.
Flying drones around a wind turbine to take high-definition video footage or photographs of each turbine from the air solves many problems. First, inspectors can capture every viewing angle within only 30 minutes. Secondly, no one’s safety is at risk since the remote-control operator and surveyors remain on the ground. Also, the entire surveying project requires less staff to complete, and technicians only need to climb a turbine tower when they actually have an issue to repair. Knowing exactly what the problems are before they climb saves even more time because technicians will always bring exactly the right tools with them for each specific job. As a result, surveying turbines with drones gives faster diagnostics of turbine problems and allows for greater capabilities of further issue prevention.
For more information about how equipment managers can use drones to survey their wind turbines in Ontario, contact Sky Snap today.