Swiss drone company Sulzer Schmid has completed a 4GW blade inspection campaign for Vestas after servicing close to 4000 turbines across 14 European countries.
The smart data collected during inspection will give Vestas insights into the health of its fleet and will enable better planning and budgeting for blade repairs, flag critical damages and monitor progression of damages over time, Sulzer Schmid said.
Vestas currently has an installed fleet of 75,000 turbines around the world.
This is the third consecutive year that Vestas has worked with Sulzer Schmid to carry out this large-scale European rotor blade inspection campaign.
The inspection campaign was managed by Sulzer Schmid, who teamed up with FairWind, FaroWind and ROBUR to carry out the work.
The Swiss company supplied the inspection technology and hardware and also provided campaign management and training for the field inspection teams.
A total of 19 teams were deployed, with an average of 11 teams inspecting turbines simultaneously across the countries.
This allowed for the inspection of up to 18 turbines daily, covering 17 different types of turbine.
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.
Vestas Northern – Central Europe regional service sales specialist Peter Vass said: “We are impressed by the successful inspection campaigns carried out by Sulzer Schmid.
“Faced with challenging conditions and with complete dedication and agility, they managed to mobilize inspection crews and help our engineers to deliver excellent reports with reliable, high-quality data within the given time-frame.”
Sulzer Schmid chief executive Tom Sulzer said: “We have a great working relationship with Vestas and we’re really proud that we were given the opportunity to deliver this project.
“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.”