Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Robot Inspects Wind Energy Converters

19.01.2009
The material of wind energy converters must withstand intense forces. Are rotor blades damaged? A new robot inspects wind energy converters more precisely than a human ever could. It detects the minutest damage – even below the surface.

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
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de
http://www.fraunhofer.de/EN/press/pi/2009/01/ResearchNews012009Topic1.jsp

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Nano-scale process may speed arrival of cheaper hi-tech products
09.11.2018 | University of Edinburgh

nachricht Nuclear fusion: wrestling with burning questions on the control of 'burning plasmas'
25.10.2018 | Lehigh University

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland

15.11.2018 | Earth Sciences

When electric fields make spins swirl

15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Discovery of a cool super-Earth

15.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>