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Robots may carry out wind turbine inspections in the future

Robots may carry out wind turbine inspections in the future
The usual method of inspecting large wind turbines involves examining the structure from the ground.

With the already large-sized wind turbines poised to reach as much as 180-meter-wide rotors, using remote-controlled robots to inspect them instead of humans are being pondered.

In its blog, the European Wind Energy Association said a partnership between GE Global Research and U.S.-based International Climbing Machines has announced that their trial wind turbine inspection using their remote-controlled robotic device has been successful.

The usual method of inspecting large wind turbines involves examining the structure from the ground at about 100 meters away, using a high-powered telescope.

Using the device and its attached high-definition video camera, a robot inspector can have real-time view of the wind turbine's blades from less than 10 meters away, "allowing for a more thorough examination and evaluation of their condition," according to G.E.

"Engineers would therefore be able to diagnose and repair any problems more quickly, thereby reducing the risk of failure or forced down-time of the turbine," the report said. Inspections would also not be delayed due to poor lighting or weather conditions with the device.

Future plans from G.E. include technology that will allow inspectors to see through the blade materials – like a microwave scanner – to identify more potential issues, for "faster diagnosis and repair." – EcoSeed Staff



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