Sulzer Schmid completes multi-GW blade inspection campaign for Vestas

Vestas

Sulzer Schmid, a company pioneering UAV technology for wind turbine rotor blade inspections, has completed a blade inspection campaign for Vestas, covering close to 4,000 wind turbines across 14 countries of northern and central Europe.

Vestas has an installed fleet of close to 75,000 wind turbines around the world. The smart data collected during inspection gives Vestas valuable insights into the health of their fleet and enables them to better plan and budget for blade repairs, flag critical damages and monitor progression of damages over time.

“The 3DX Blade Platform helps us analyse and determine if repairs are necessary, in total transparency. Access to real time information with mobile devices delivers an outstanding user experience, enabling us to answer questions from management and customers at any given time,” said Lean Frandsen, Technical Planner, Special Task Nordic, Vestas Northern – Central Europe.

Sulzer Schmid has teamed up with FairWind, FaroWind and ROBUR to carry out blade inspections in the field. Sulzer Schmid supplied the inspection technology and hardware as well as provide campaign management and training for the field inspection teams.

Sulzer Schmid deployed 19 teams, with an average of 11 teams inspecting turbines simultaneously across the countries. The inspection team inspected up to 18 wind turbines daily. The campaign covered as much as 17 different types of wind turbines. Technical and logistical support ensured that the drones were flying according to schedule even in very remote locations.

The images and metadata captured by the autonomous drones were uploaded to the cloud-based 3DX Blade Platform, and an AI aided annotation process was then carried out by Sulzer Schmid, before being reviewed by Vestas own blade expert team.

Tom Sulzer, CEO of Sulzer Schmid, said: “This has been our largest ever inspection campaign and as we inspect certain fleets for the third time, we are building up a valuable data treasure for our customer. Our 3DX Blade Platform allows our clients to identify blade damage and make repairs at the right time, generating O&M cost savings and energy production gains.”