It appears reliably and appears alone. Nimbly and quickly, it pulls itself up a rope meter for meter until it reaches a wind energy converter’s giant rotor blades. Then it goes to work. It thoroughly inspects every centimeter of the rotor blades’ surface. Nothing escapes it. It registers any crack and any delamination in the material and relays their exact positions. In this job, a robot is superior to humans.
The researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF are experts in robotics – regardless of whether to clean facades, inspect sewer lines or assist humans. Their latest helper is RIWEA, a robot that inspects the rotor blades of wind energy converters. Primarily made of glass fiber reinforced plastics, rotor blades have to withstand a great deal: wind, inertial forces, erosion, etc. Until now, humans have inspected wind energy converters at regular intervals – not an easy job.
After all, the technicians must closely examine large surfaces – a rotor blade can be up to 60 meters long – in airy heights. “Our robot is not just a good climber,” says Dr. Norbert Elkmann, Project Manager am Fraunhofer IFF and coordinator of the joint project. “It is equipped with a number of advanced sensor systems. This enables it to inspect rotor blades closely.” Are there cracks in the surface? Are the bonded joints and laminations in order? Is the bond with the central strut damaged?
The inspection system consists of three elements: An infrared radiator conducts heat to the surface of the rotor blades. A high-resolution thermal camera records the temperature pattern and thus registers flaws in the material. In addition, an ultrasonic system and a high resolution camera are also on board, thus enabling the robot to also detect damage that would remain hidden to the human eye. A specially developed carrier system ensures that the inspection robot is guided securely and precisely along the surface of a rotor blade.
“It is a highly complex platform with sixteen degrees of freedom, which can autonomously pull itself up ropes,” explains Elkmann. The advantage of this system: It can perform its job on any wind energy converter – regardlesss of whether it is large or small, on land or offshore. The robot always delivers an exact log of the rotor blades’ condition, keeping humans safe and not missing any damage.
Dr. Norbert Elkmann | alfa
A big nano boost for solar cells
18.01.2017 | Kyoto University and Osaka Gas effort doubles current efficiencies
Multiregional brain on a chip
16.01.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences