Purpose-built for visually inspecting the inside of wind turbine blades

Clobotics Wind Services announces availability of its Clobotics Crawler™ (code named KIWI) robot – a device purpose-built for safely, rapidly and cost-effectively documenting the internal condition of wind turbine blades. The device features two high resolution, high dynamic range (HDR) cameras, LED lighting, and a tethered line for retrieval. The robot weighs approximately six kilograms and has dimensions of 50cmx23cmx28cm.

Addressing a trend

Demand has been building among both manufacturers and owner/operators for inspections covering the inside of blades. Large stress cracks, bond line failures and some lightning damages are among the problems that are impossible to detect from the outside of the blade. By gathering and analyzing image data from both the inside of blades (through the Clobotics Crawler), and outside of blades (through the Clobotics IBIS™ drone inspection system), operations and maintenance managers can make better decisions about where to focus attention and allocate limited resources for further investigation and follow-up action using the Clobotics IRIS™ cloud data platform.

An end-to-end solution

The basic steps of an internal inspection using the Crawler include:

1. Data collection from the site and upload to the cloud

2. Labeling points of interest or defects seen in the images

3. Analyzing statistical trends, generating reports, and developing action steps

The Clobotics Crawler addresses Step 1 with a focus on low cost, high quality and maximum safety. It connects securely to the Clobotics IRIS™ platform for Steps 2 and 3. Clobotics IRIS™ is a market leading cloud platform for hosting, labeling, and analyzing external visual blade inspections that addresses Steps 2 and 3 and has supported external visual inspections of over 100,000 wind turbines going back to 2017.

The Clobotics Crawler’s superior image quality makes all the difference for important but hard-to-see defects.

Safety, Quality and Cost

The Clobotics Crawler’s design goal is to offer the best combination of safety, quality of data collected, and cost to inspect available in the marketplace. Safety is enhanced by creating a robot that can be positioned in the blade and conduct the inspection without requiring a technician to physically enter the blade. Quality is achieved by using industrial cameras configured to capture every surface with an innovative lighting approach and 26 megapixels of resolution. Quality also includes 100% image coverage of up to 2/3 of the blade length, as well as identifying the distance from the blade root of images and points of interest to within 20 centimeters of ground truth. Cost is a function of speed and ease of use. Using the Clobotics Crawler, a team of two technicians can expect to safely inspect two entire wind turbines in a single day.

“In many ways, the hardest part of taking a data-driven approach to wind turbine operations and maintenance is collecting good data at an affordable cost. The Clobotics Crawler sets a new standard for high quality, automated, visual documentation of the inside of blades” said Yan Ke, Chief Technology Officer at Clobotics.

Visit clobotics.com/wind/contact/ to request more information about blade inspections using this new system.

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