What Types of Inspections are done on Wind Turbines?

Wind turbines are enormous and complex pieces of machinery, often located in remote areas. They require regular maintenance and repairs to keep them in optimum operating condition.

Wind turbine blade inspections are an essential part of keeping these machines working. By looking at the various areas of a wind turbine, technicians can discover and deal with potential weaknesses or problems.

Since wind turbines are so large and have many different components, inspections can be challenging. This is because inspections must be as thorough as possible so technicians can conduct the necessary wind turbine blade repairs and avoid potential turbine failures.

Generally, a wind turbine will need to be paused while the inspection is conducted. So businesses within the wind industry aim to complete thorough inspections quickly so the turbines can be put back into action and produce energy as soon as possible.

So what are some of the most prevalent inspection methods to keep wind turbines operating for as long as possible?

Visual inspections

Of course, visual wind turbine inspections are one of the easiest and most effective strategies. These types of inspections can be done in person or using equipment such as drones.

Inspections completed by a repair technician can take a while. This is because the technician will need to visit various areas of the turbine and will likely need tools like power ascenders to reach the upper locations of the facility.

Drones can make visually inspecting areas of a wind turbine easier and less time-consuming. In addition, they are handy for getting close-up shots of hard-to-reach spaces. Usually, a technician will review the drone footage to assess conditions better and decide if further inspections, maintenance, or repairs are required.

Ultrasound inspections

The naked eye can see not all damages. This is why most wind turbine blade inspections involve using ultrasounds to detect potential issues lying below the surface or otherwise invisible.

There are two types of ultrasound typically used in wind turbine blade inspection, phased array ultrasound and conventional ultrasound.

Conventional and phased array ultrasonic testing are techniques for non-invasive and non-destructive inspection. Each of these ultrasonic inspections uses pulse-echo. They can detect cracks, pits, and other damages caused by things like corrosion and can create an image of these damages.

Phased array ultrasonic testing can be used to inspect a wider area and are incredibly effective for looking at thicker materials like glass and carbon fibre.

Combination inspections

Most wind turbine blade repair and inspection technician teams will use a combination of inspection methods, including visual, ultrasound, infrared, and radiography.

Inspections aim to catch issues like corrosion, cracks, debonding, and delamination (when materials break into layers) as early as possible. The earlier faults are detected, the easier it is to repair them and the longer the wind turbine’s lifespan will be.

If you are interested in learning more about wind turbine blade inspection and repairs, contact Altitec.

Altitec provides top-notch training and work opportunities for those interested in wind turbines.

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