Wind turbines are becoming increasingly popular as a sustainable energy source across the UK and indeed across the world. The nature of those giant rotating blades however means that performing regular inspections and preventative maintenance can pose a real problem, as can the fact that a breakdown can cause a great deal of time, money and in some cases, such as with a breakaway blade, physical danger.
The wind turbine is fitted with three rotor blades to allow it convert the power of the wind into electricity and these blades are subject to immense stress both during manufacturing and operation – particularly as they are made to be as light as possible. Even a defect that begins as small can pose a risk to both staff and operations as it grows through continued use. It’s often the case that the fault is only detectable once it has reached breaking point and then repairs can be both difficult and costly to repair, as well as causing excessive down time in the farm’s operation. Thermal imaging offers a non invasive, non contact solution that can be regularly deployed to predict where faults will occur.
Thermal imaging, using a a state of the art camera attached to a UAV or drone, can provide a simple and efficient solution to the issue of regular inspections. It’s widely acknowledged that electrical components will get excessively hot before they fail and so they will become more visible to a radiometic level thermal camera. Once potential problem areas have been identified, staff can be deployed to carry out further investigation and carry out repairs before failure occurs. All of this with minimal personal risk and no downtime for the turbines themselves.