Wind Turbine Maintenance

Inspecting the condition of wind turbines is vital at various stages of the project lifecycle. It needs routine maintenance to keep it spinning safely and efficiently.

Treated right, wind turbines will provide safe and reliable operation throughout its lifecycle. The life of a wind turbine can be quite uncertain, the blades; made of laminated materials, such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, balsa wood, and composites, can reach speeds up to 180 miles per hour at the tip. It means even small particles in the air can cause damage to the surfaces. It is most likely no surprise that lightning is a serious hazard for wind turbines as well.

Damaged blades are at risk to humidity invasion, which can quickly lead to additional damage as a result of thaw/freeze cycling. Leading edge erosion and deteriorating gel coats can drastically reduce the lifespan of a blade and cause performance losses.

Visual inspections are an essential preventive maintenance task for such expensive assets. Finding minor issues before time allows small repairs to be made prior to more extensive damage results. Technicians often make use of rope access techniques to complete the checks and carry out minor repairs. For those of us who do not particularly like heights, the idea of sailing down a wind turbine blade on ropes from the nacelle is scary, but for K2 Energy Group personnel who perform such sort of work, it is just another day on the job.

Blades

They are possibly the most important element of every wind turbine and need to be examined closely at regular intervals.

The leading edge of the blades gets a significant amount of abuse as a result of dust, hail, rain, and bugs in the air. These should be visually inspected for erosion, and repaired when possible if required. Aftermarket skins can provide extra-durable shield to the leading edge if the turbine is in an area with a lot of dust or bugs.

Any cracks in the blade are considered very serious. A crack under load could quickly fail during high winds and lead to disastrous damage to the wind turbine, tower, and adjacent buildings as well.

Blade accessories such as vortex generators are frequently knocked loose by adhesive failure, birds, or ice, and can be replaced by cleaning the spot and gluing another in place. Broken blades can be repaired or replaced, based on the amount of the damage.

Weather Can Be a Show Stopper

For even the most daring technician, however, there are times when the work just can’t be carried out. Humidity, temperature, rain, and wind can all have an effect of the capability of finishing blade repair & maintenance as planned. In some climates, up to forty percent of all canceled wind turbine maintenance days are the direct result of unfavorable weather conditions.

Different Techniques to Inspect Wind Turbine Blades

The course of action you should take when it comes to blade inspection and repair on any wind turbine depends on various factors. Once these have been discussed, you will be capable of recognizing the most efficient course of action.

Drone Inspection

Drone inspection is usually the first port of call, it offers a fast effective visual or thermo graphic image of the condition of the components. AI (automated inspections) can identify defects using machine learning which further reduces the timeframe for inspection from manual drone inspection.

Dust, salt, rain, lighting, snow, and hair are just some of the things that the components of a wind turbine must bear. Making use of drone inspection solution for visual Inspection of onshore and offshore wind turbines provides advantages, including:

  • Preventive maintenance planning
  • Dynamic surveying
  • Access to otherwise inaccessible areas
  • High quality images and video
  • Lessened downtime
  • Safe working environment

In contrast to conventional telephotography or other manual Inspection techniques, a drone examination is an efficient and cost-effective inspection technique. With a drone inspection solution, you can get both thermal and visual images on wind turbines for on-site study and evaluation regarding the state of the rotor blades.

On-site Rotor Blade Inspection

At the time of an on-site inspection, the investigation team will fly the drone to the required position for data capture and begin the assessment of the rotor blade, whether it is for a complete checkup or particular areas of the rotor blade. The data is stored, making on-site assessment of the condition of the wind turbine possible. The drone flies stable in the air and can deal with a wind speed of both offshore and onshore wind turbines.

 

Rope Access

Generally rope access is required for close visual – identification and generation of a repair plan, the professional and experienced K2 Energy Group blade repair and certified rope access technicians can access and assess those turbines that necessitate a closer look. This is a very highly skilled profession where rope access and blade repair training is needed. Our personnel are all GWO approved for BST and blade repairs.

When to call for a professional help

Call K2 Energy Group if something does not seem right during the inspection. Our specialists are capable of checking and repairing any blade damage to the required standard. If maintaining the turbine is a problem, professional technicians are specially trained and capable of safely climbing the tower and servicing the wind turbine.

At K2 Energy group., we always make use of the best in class, the most advanced techniques and technologies to carry out wind turbine blade inspections and repairs. We have a team of certified, professionals, and experienced technicians who are knowledgeable enough to deal with any type of problem in the wind turbine. We always offer the best and the most effective solution, tailored made for the job – with or without a drone.

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    Blade Repair Training in Asia

    Humanity is slowly becoming a type-one civilization and at the same time moving away from energy obtained through processed crude oils. Instead, we’re rapidly learning to utilize renewable energy sources such as solar energy, hydropower, and of course, wind energy.

     

    More and more wind turbine farms are being built all over the world — especially in Asia — and they require qualified technicians for inspection, maintenance, and repairs. We are proud to be contributing to this new phase of human energy technology — “the energy transition” — by being the only Asian company currently training and equipping individuals with the skills they need to keep these wind farms productive. Adequate knowledge for blade repair services is an essential aspect of this training.

    Blade Repair Training and the Repair Process

    Currently, there exists a simple yet concrete procedure for each step of the repair process, from inspection to completion, but with technology advancing rapidly across Asia, the process varies from context to context. We aim to teach the key concepts of Blade Repair training so that technicians in the field are able to understand and complete even the most complicated repair projects.

    Safety Training

    Safety is the first, second, and third priority in blade repair. Our Blade Repair training consists of multiple safety training modules that are taught and retaught, for consistent and up-to-date competence.

    Safe work at heights requires theoretical and practical training, as well as core strength and mental focus. In our Working at Height and Manual Handling courses, we encourage delegates to execute tasks safely only after thorough planning. The course teaches manual handling, use of personal protective equipment, and height rescue, ensuring individuals are thoroughly prepared for the unique risk situations that occur on blade repair jobs.

    Similarly, our First Aid training aims to enable repair technicians to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use an automated external defibrillator (AED). In accordance with First Aid training, this course ensures that individuals are able to perform the first aid necessary for any emergency situation that may arise working in the wind turbine industry.

    Once the key concept of safety has been internalized, trainees need to get to grips quickly with the technical competencies of blade repair. This includes training in the use of specialized technical equipment.

    Wind Turbine Blade Inspection

    Visual inspection is a key part of the process in blade inspection, repair, and maintenance. A regular blade inspection can be completed using rope access techniques, a camera with a telescopic lens of at least 400mm, or powerful binoculars.

     

    However, Drone inspection is a much better alternative, since certain inspections cannot be completed from the outside only, requiring a technician to climb inside and physically enter the turbine blade unless a drone is used instead. Drones can also be equipped with digital and thermographic cameras, reducing downtime and increasing efficiency. Additionally, a drone can hover in place and withstand wind speeds of up to 10 m/s, making them more than useful for onshore and offshore wind turbine inspection.

    Trainees on our wind turbine repair training courses will first and foremost receive training in simpler inspection methods, including rope access techniques for close-up visual inspections and blade sanding techniques for detailed visual inspections.

    Wind Turbine Blade Repair

    Once any damage has been identified, technicians need to know how to implement repairs in the field. This is the process known as wind turbine section creation. Completing the same processes utilized by factories that produce blades, technicians use specialized techniques to repair damage caused by weather, lightning strikes, stress, and other factors.

    Critically, this process includes many practical and theoretical elements that simply cannot be learned alone; real competence requires in-person teaching with experienced personnel. The final step of our wind turbine repair training, recognized by Siemens Gamesa, therefore teaches trainees through hands-on practice how to repair the blade surface and return it to its most effective aerodynamic motion.

    Grit, rain, snow, lightning, and even bullets are the primary causes of wind turbine blade damage. The turbine blade tip can spin at 200 miles per hour. At these speeds, something as simple as a drop of rain can have the impact of a stone, and particles of sand and stone create blade surface damage very quickly. Caused by these natural occurrences are laminate damage, coat damage, and erosion.

    Erosion damage repairs are completed by a skilled rope-technique technician on the spot. The technician utilizes epoxy filler paste, urethane, or tape to fix the erosion. Most often, epoxy filler paste is the best option, since it creates the most aerodynamic surface.

    Severe damage that is more difficult to repair requires a blade repair technician of a higher skill level. Not only does the technician have to sand the layers correctly, but he must understand every material used in the construction of the blade. If the technician at hand doesn’t have the necessary knowledge, the laid-up composite will likely peel off after a short period, resulting in even more damage.

    The goal of blade repair training in Asia is to gradually prepare trainees to move from fixing simple cosmetic damage to undertaking repair of the most serious blade damage.

     

    Building The Future

    For the highest competence and compliance, it’s important to rely on training that is certified to the highest standards. This includes blade repair training offshore in Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India, China, and Taiwan, making us the only such source in Asia.

    We came to Asia with the aim of training individuals to perform generic, widely utilized techniques, but also leaving them with the knowledge to operate the newest blade inspection technologies.

    In association with K2 Energy Group, Advanced Blade Repair Services Asia has successfully trained a vast number of students in Europe, who are by now veteran technicians.

    Asia is a new continent full of bright, determined individuals, and we’re excited to be the first company to offer them the opportunity to be the builders and repairers of a clean, wind-powered, future.

     

    Contact us, begin your training, and leave your mark!

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