Tue, 04 May, 2021
TWI has been working as part of an international consortium of partners on the Horizon 2020-funded SheaRIOS project. The project, which aims to reduce the cost and improve the safety and efficiency of wind turbine blade inspection, is nearing completion.
The project aim is to develop an on-blade robotic inspection system that uses shearography to asses wear and damage to wind turbine blades (WTBs). The system is based upon a robotic crawler that is held in place by a vacuum and can be controlled from the ground.
WTBs are prone to damage as they are often subjected to extreme environmental forces. The blades can suffer strain and fail without warning meaning that regular inspections are imperative so that damage that can lead to catastrophic failure can be identified as soon as practically possible and remedial action taken.
However, WTB inspections are dangerous, with accidents and fatalities among inspectors being an all-too-common occurrence. The use of automated inspection by the SheaRIOS system will greatly reduce the hazards associated with WTB inspection, reduce inspection time, whilst potentially allowing operators to reduce the frequency of their inspections and the associated costs.
Using a robotic inspection system, the SheaRIOS Project is addressing the shortage of trained inspection technicians by providing a more efficient use of resources, reduced downtime between inspections and less chance of damage to the blades during an inspection.
As the project enters its final stage, real-world trials are underway to fully evaluate the system.
We will bring you more news on the outcomes of this innovative project as it nears completion, but you can also find out more on the dedicated website, here.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 780662