Tue, 16 February, 2021
TWI recently hosted a webinar offering details of the ongoing SheaRIOS project. The project has seen the development of a robotic on-blade inspection solution for wind turbines. The technology uses shearography to assess the condition of wind turbine blades with improved efficiency, safety and reduced costs.
The webinar, which took place on 3 February, had 301 registrants and 158 people attending live on the day. The event was well received, with 48 questions being submitted by the attendees who also provided plenty of positive feedback.
The speakers at the webinar included Martin Bourton and James Kern from TWI along with EDF Energy’s Andy Morris, Deniz Petrecca of Dekra and Makiz Pachos from IKNOWHOW. The speakers were supported by panellists Marcus Jocham of Dekra, Manuel Vinagre Ruiz from Leitat, Wart Diederik and Jan Seton from WRS Cathodic Protection B.V. and TWI’s Doug Wylie.
Wind turbine blades are subject to significant and unpredictable stresses from the environment, which mean that inspections are a critical safety activity. This has led to strict maintenance and inspection regulations. However, despite these regular inspection and maintenance requirements, the majority of blade failures are as a result of poor maintenance. More effective inspection and preventative maintenance regimes are needed to reduce these costly failures.
In addition, manual inspections, often performed by rope access inspectors, have resulted in accidents causing injury or death. As the number of wind turbines increase, so does the likelihood of further accidents.
Different technologies were investigated in order to deliver safer inspection solutions for wind turbines. This included visual thermography, acoustic emission and ultrasonic inspection, but none were found to be totally satisfactory.
However, shearographic inspection of large composite structures, such as aircraft wings, has been successfully used in the aerospace sector, signalling its applicability to wind turbine blades.
This webinar demonstrated how the SheaRIOS consortium had developed a bespoke shearographic inspection system to solve this challenge. You can find out more about the project on the dedicated website and also see a recording of the webinar here.
We are planning a follow up webinar to highlight the results of site trials, please check our events page or LinkedIn page for information about this upcoming webinar.