Mon, 08 November, 2021
SheaRIOS is a Horizon2020 funded collaborative project co-ordinated by TWI with project partners IKnowHow (IKH), Dekra Visatec (Dekra), LETAIT, EDF Energy / EDF R&D, The Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES) and WRS Cathodic Protection (WRS). It is developing a robot-deployed shearography system for in-situ wind turbine blade (WTB) inspection. The successful combination of robotics and shearography is creating a safer, easier, faster, and more accurate inspection method compared to the current state-of-the-art techniques.
Successful operation of commercial wind farms requires the operator to make informed and optimal decisions related to operation and maintenance activities.
During an inspection, the crawling robot ascends a wind turbine tower (WTT) and releases the robotic climber onto the surface of a WTB. The crawler uses vacuum assisted caterpillar tracks to transverse a vertically oriented WTB to reach an area of interest. The entire system is remotely controlled from a base station located at ground level.
A brief overview of the partners and their input to the project is given below:
TWI is a UK-based research and technology organisation that specialises in joining technologies, structural integrity, failure investigation and non-destructive testing. Its aim is to promote the advancement of engineering technology through partnership with industry and academia.
TWI is the coordinator of the SheaRIOS project and is developing the shearographic inspection module that forms part of the robotic system for assessment of in-situ wind turbine blades.
IKH is based in Greece and provides custom-built automation and software solutions. It specialises in the development of industrial automation and maintenance robotics, with in-house competencies in modeling, simulation and control for fully automated solutions. Industrial experience includes wind turbine inspection projects using robotic climber technology.
IKH is leading the SheaRIOS system integration and ground testing. It is responsible for the development of the robotic climber and the associated mechanism for deployment of the robotic crawler on the WTB.
DEKRA Visatec (Dekra)
DEKRA is a German-based multinational organisation that offers a range of products and services for non-destructive testing (NDT) and visual inspections in all major industrial sectors. DEKRA serve customers all over the world with innovative and bespoke inspection solutions.
DEKRA have contributed a modified robotic crawler capable of delivering the shearographic payload to virtually any location on an in-situ WTB. Dekra also leads the dissemination activities that promote the SheaRIOS project to the Wind Turbine industry.
LEITAT is a Spanish technology centre specialising in R&D, technology transfer and industrial innovation services. It participates in industrial innovation projects covering a broad field of sectors, technologies and applications, by providing knowledge and experience to bolster competitiveness.
LEITAT is providing the high performance communication between the robotics and the centralised control station at ground level. It is responsible for simplifying the inspection procedure through semi‑automatic robotic behaviour.
EDF is helping Britain achieve Net Zero by leading the transition to a cleaner, low emission electric future and tackling climate change. They are Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity – from their eight nuclear power stations and more than thirty wind farms – meeting around one-fifth of the country’s demand. In addition to being one of the largest suppliers to British homes and businesses, they are a leading supplier of innovative energy solutions that are helping their customers become more energy efficient and independent. EDF is part of EDF Group, the world’s biggest electricity generator. In the UK they employ around 11,000 people.
EDF is steering the project by providing the industrial requirements and an end user perspective. In addition, R&D has provided advice on in-service defect types, defect samples for system testing and safety standards.
The Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES)
CRES is the Greek national organisation for the promotion of renewable energy sources, rational use of energy and energy conservation. Their Wind Energy Department has experience in all aspects of wind energy including R&D, wind turbine testing, demonstration, standardisation, certification and education.
CRES will host the field trials of the SheaRIOS robotic system at their 3MW demonstration wind farm located at Keratea Attikis. It will assist with the system evaluation and play a major role in the project’s dissemination activities to engage the Wind Energy sector.
WRS Cathodic Protection (WRS)
WRS is based in the Netherlands and provides worldwide solutions in non-destructive testing and rope access and corrosion control. It works in a range of offshore and marine industries, including oil and gas, shipbuilding and repair and offshore renewables.
WRS is responsible for the WTB field trials and system demonstrations at CRES, vital prerequisites for taking the SheaRIOS system to market.
If you would like further information or to discuss any of the points raised please feel free to contact TWI and we will direct your enquiry to the relevant project partner.
The SheaRIOS Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 780662