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Wind Turbine Inspections Get More Reliable: Camera-Equipped Robots

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Wind turbines require maintenance and regular inspections, which so far implied a high-power telescope maneuvered by a man 100 meters below the blades. GE Global Research, in partnership with Ithaca, is looking to improve the procedure by introducing a robot device with a camera on its back for more precision.

What was first of all wrong with the old method was that it totally depended on weather and lighting, making inspections during rain, snow or by night impossible. Also, because of the distance of the shots, they were slightly inaccurate.

With the climber, these disadvantages get brushed away: the inspector would be able to use a remote control to direct it at a range smaller than 10 meters, while the “live” image would be transmitted in real-time. The testing inspection that just recently took place at a wind farm in Texas was there to prove it: the state of the turbines was indeed rendered more reliably.

Barely have they finished testing the “robot,” that GE scientists plunged into another project: currently under way is the fitting of the microwave scanner – an “x-ray” vision of the blades able to foresee any disintegration in the structure. At the India Technology Center, people are also “toying” with small, helicopter-like vehicles in the same pursuit of accuracy.

[via NA WindPower]

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