Sulzer Schmid, and ENERTRAG Betrieb have teamed up to provide a new wind turbine blade inspection solution that integrates ENERTRAG Betrieb’s lightning protection systems (LPS) testing solution with Sulzer Schmid’s UAV technology and digital inspection platform.
This key innovation will enable LPS testing to be carried out at the same time as rotor blade inspections, saving operators and owners time and money.
ENERTRAG Betrieb developed an innovative process for LPS testing. Using an intermittent AC voltage of up to 6000V, which is much closer to the reality of a lightning strike than previous measurements of just 24V, the voltage is fed into the LPS located at the root of the wind turbine rotor blade which then generates an intermittent electric field around the blade.
If the electric field is detected in the area of the blade tip, the lightning protection system is functional. If the electric field does not reach the blade tip, this indicates a damage to the lightning protection system. The damage is located where the electric field stops in the direction of the blade tip.
The two companies have co-developed a non-contact testing solution by mounting the LPS measuring equipment onto the DJI M300 RTK blade inspection drone and integrating the results within Sulzer Schmid’s 3DX Blade Platform.
The development of the prototype and its test phase has been completed and the product feasibility has been proven in a recent study. This is great news for wind farm operators, and an attractive solution for developers of new wind farm projects with larger and more powerful turbines.