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Blade Inspection & Repair
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Blade Inspection & Repair

Wind Energy Network Magazine Issue 51 - 2019 - James Rothwell - Author

Dedicated Provider

Meeting The Challenge

The company has worked on over 300 sites across Europe and operations have always run smoothly regardless of the area and challenges. Their excellent management team with a combined 33 years of experience within the wind industry have a proven track record of delivering projects on time and on budget.

300 sites across Europe

Blade Inspection & Repair

  • The manual inspection of wind turbine rotor blades (inconveniently placed on very high towers in remote and extremely windy places) involves a certain amount of travel time as large amounts of specific equipment and trained personnel are moved between them; higher output and more modern turbines help to reduce this cost relative to the power output of the wind farm.

  • However, economies of up-scaling for the operation of an offshore, multi-MW windfarm can be challenged as the consequence of a single turbine downtime is more significant and all operating costs are higher. Therefore, cost reduction by using remote monitoring becomes increasingly attractive as a means to suppress unexpected downtime and focus limited maintenance and repair operations.

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Key Points

Meeting the Clients Needs

When a client requests a turbine to be inspected there are many key factors that need to be taken into account…

  • Location (onshore/offshore)
  • Turbine type
  • Blade type
  • Hub height

From this information the team can discuss with the client in respect of the best course of action to take, there are several inspection methods that can be used…

• Ground Based – with a hi-resolution camera five turbines per day onshore and three turbines per day offshore can be inspected; on average it takes two hours per inspection

• Drone – qualified drone pilots can inspect multiple turbines per day

• Rope Access – highly experienced blade repair and IRATA certified Rope Access Technicians can inspect one to two turbines per day depending on the severity of the blades.

These surveys can also help to determine the severity of the blades across the windfarm. With this information a planned blade maintenance schedule can prevent minor defects turning in to severe damages that could dramatically impact on the turbine production. All photos are reviewed and categorised by severity by the technical manager and all images are treated as highly sensitive.

Reporting Technology

Reporting

Intuitive Software

  • Once the inspection has been conducted technical experts analyse the collected data to identify root causes. The results are delivered in a comprehensive report, which includes a clear outline of any damage and recommended solutions based on the most cost-effective repair solutions and industry-leading upgrades. All reports are generated automatically using our class leading intuitive IOS based software.

    The report is submitted directly to clients in plain language, so clients can assess different options. The report will also include detailed images of all blade areas and detailed defect clarifications. Moreover, the reports and images are stored to follow the development of blades and inform decision making.

  • Blades are a part of Windtex’ core business and their dedication to each step in a blade’s operating lifetime means that they know them better than anyone. A partnership affords you and your assets industry-leading care with innovative and economical repair solutions.

    High quality and fast blade repairs are critical to a turbine’s performance. With a service partner, confidence that blades will be back in optimal operating mode as fast as possible after any repair solution will be experienced.

    The company are continuously developing solutions and currently offer inspections, cosmetic repairs and leading and trailing edge repair solutions for nearly all turbines.

Preventative Maintenance

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  • REDUCING COSTS WITH PREVENTATIVE REPAIRS

    A major part of taking care of blade maintenance is to repair developing damage as early as possible. Through extensive experience in inspecting and repairing blades, Windtex knows that preventive scheduled repair solutions are the most effective method to reduce operation & maintenance costs related to blades while increasing turbine uptime. Ideally, early intervention can reduce repair costs by up to 75%.

  • WEAR AND TEAR

    Normal operating conditions can lead to wear and tear on blades, which can have a negative impact on performance over time. Repairs addressing wear and tear issues are not part of the standard service agreement, which leaves forecasting unknown costs as part of an annual budget. While wear and tear issues might not seem significant, if left unaddressed, this can have impacts on production and introduce the possibility of costly, unplanned wind turbine downtime.

  • ENSURING MONEY SAVINGS IN THE LONG TERM BY FOLLOWING…

    • Comprehensive, annual inspection with thorough reporting

    • Clearly outlined description of damages and classification

    • Ongoing monitoring of early-stage damages

    • Integrated scheduling of repair activities into other service activities to minimise turbine downtime

    • All repairs are performed by trained blade specialists with a proven track record