Strat Aero, an international aerospace services company, and AirFusion, a firm specializing in airborne sensor data fusion software and analytics technology, have announced the launch of WindSpect, a revolutionary wind turbine blade inspection solution that combines unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with advanced video and data analysis software.
Modern wind turbines have been designed with an estimated lifespan of 20 years. The wind market recognizes that proper maintenance of turbine blades begins with regular inspection. The most common wind turbine damage is erosion, cracks and skin debonding. Today, inspections of blades are primarily done visually by an inspector on a rope harness, which can be time-consuming, expensive, inaccurate and extremely dangerous. These maintenance programs take approximately four to six hours to inspect all three blades of a wind turbine and to create a report specifying damage discovered and a recommended plan for repair.
To minimize downtime and boost generating efficiency, implementing a quick and cost-effective maintenance program is critical. WindSpect combines Strat Aero’s UAV with inspection services with AirFusion’s patent pending and highly advanced Wind Edition Inspection software and analytics to reveal damage that is difficult or impossible to detect with the unaided human eye such as hidden cracks, foreign bodies, depositions of water, loose adhesive joints and uneven coating. WindSpect provides a technical collection team using a high-end UAV fitted with multiple advanced sensors and HD cameras to collect inspection data. All collected data is stored on a secure digital (SD) memory card. When the inspection is complete the memory card is inserted into a ground station computer equipped with AirFusion’s Wind Edition software that analyzes the video and sensor data and produces a report automatically that can be directly exported to standard wind energy industry ERP, CMMS and SCADA compatible systems.
Russell Peck, CEO, Strat Aero said, “We are very excited to be partnering with AirFusion to offer the wind turbine industry this evolutionary solution. As the industry continues to grow, regular inspection and maintenance of blades are becoming critical tools for wind turbine operators. Our collaborative approach provides the industry with the most cost-effective and accurate solution on the market today.”
“This is an exciting time to be in the wind and energy industry. For years, the energy industry has been in search of a smarter, more reliable and efficient inspection solutions. Our deep expertise in developing technology for aerospace, technology and government entities has led us to create a software solution that is far more accurate than a manual approach,” added Dennis Chateauneuf, CEO, AirFusion. “We are pleased to have found a partner in Strat Aero to bring our combined expertise to market. We are looking forward to a long prosperous relationship with them globally.”