Vestas selects Sulzer Schmid, WKA to inspect wind turbines using UAS

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Wind turbine company Vestas has selected Sulzer Schmid, a Swiss UAS technology company for rotor blade inspections, and WKA, a blade inspection and repair service provider, to conduct a large UAS-based blade inspection campaign in Scandinavia on 1,250 wind turbines in less than 12 weeks.

Located across Sweden and Finland, the blades of the 1,250 Vestas turbines must be inspected by the end of June, just in time for the beginning of the repair work season, which traditionally takes place during the less windy summer months.

To meet this tight deadline, Vestas opted for UAS, which is the “only approach that can meet its high-quality standards within such a demanding time-frame,” the companies say.

“We are convinced that drone-based inspection will become the new standard in the wind industry,” says Jöns Sjösted, senior service director, Sweden & Finland of Vestas Northern & Central Europe.

“In combination with an efficient field operation and a streamlined digital information flow, this innovative solution will add a lot of value to our customers.”

WKA and Sulzer Schmid have partnered to offer the complete service needed by Vestas. Through the partnership, Sulzer Schmid’s UAS-based inspection technology will be combined with WKA’s qualified field personnel and rotor blade expertise to offer a “state-of-the-art turnkey solution.”

To capture and record blade defects and ensure smooth operations in the field, WKA will deploy UAS equipped with cameras and sensors. Industrial services specialist ROBUR company TEC GmbH will support project management for these efforts.

The entities say that the offering of Sulzer Schmid and WKA “covers the entire workflow up until the defects are made available on the customer portal of Vestas.” Besides diligent planning and efficient field operation, this project also requires a streamlined defect annotation process and the integration into the backend systems of Vestas to allow for an end-to-end information flow.

The HD images captured by the UAS are analyzed with help from artificial intelligence, and detailed automated reports are generated via Sulzer Schmid’s 3DX software components.

“As a trusted service provider for Vestas for blade repairs, we strive to always provide the most effective service, using the best technology available on the market,” says Kyriakos Kosmidis, CEO of WKA.

“That’s why we are thrilled to be able to rely on Sulzer Schmid’s drone technology to expand our service and meet the demanding requirement of the wind industry world leader. Going forward, we are pleased to announce that all of our customers will be able to benefit from our collaboration with Sulzer Schmid.”

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