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Collaboration To Revolutionize Wind Turbine Blade Inspections and Maintenance

BladeBUG, a UK-based robotics company designing and developing inspection and repair robots for the wind industry, has announced its strategic collaboration with global non-destructive testing (NDT) specialist, FORCE Technology. The joint project will see FORCE Technology produce custom NDT solutions for integration within BladeBUG’s innovative crawler robot, which is specifically designed to maintain and inspect wind turbine blades.

Established in 2014, BladeBUG designs and develops compact crawler robots to help enhance the efficiency and profitability of wind turbines, in turn, supporting the acceleration of the green energy transition and a lower cost of energy. At the core of their progress over the last nine years has been a focus on research and development and collaboration with leading technology providers, end users and industry accelerators.

This latest co-operation with FORCE Technology is another example of BladeBUG’s emphasis on collaborative working. With over 30 years of industry experience, and renowned expertise in non-destructive testing, FORCE Technology are providing their P-scan ultrasonic composite scanning system, combined with BladeBUG’s six-legged crawler robot, to enable a ground-breaking solution for remotely operated scanning of wind turbine blades, both on- and offshore.

The collaboration between BladeBUG and FORCE Technology will introduce a portable and efficient solution for up-tower in-service non-destructive testing of wind turbine blades.

With the integration of FORCE Technology’s state-of-the-art automated ultrasonic scanning system, BladeBUG’s crawler robot will be able to perform thorough inspections of critical structural parts, including spar caps, root areas, leading edges, trailing edges, and more. This advanced scanning capability ensures comprehensive detection of all relevant defect and damage types, such as wrinkles, debonding, delamination, and others, regardless of the blade’s curvature.

One of the key advantages of this collaboration is the cost efficiency it offers. The deployment process is streamlined, allowing for fast and efficient inspections.

Chris Cieslak, Founder and Director at BladeBUG, explains, “BladeBUG’s joint solution with FORCE Technology is set to empower wind industry stakeholders with advanced inspection capabilities that enhance asset management, ensuring the integrity and longevity of wind turbine blades. Combining the manoeuvrability, accuracy and adaptability of BladeBUG’s crawler, with the reliable, trusted technology within FORCE Technology’s custom-built NDT solution will help revolutionise O&M activities in the wind industry.”

The intelligent scanning technology integrated into BladeBUG’s advanced robot, combined with AI-based data analysis, also enables quick and accurate results. This means wind industry stakeholders can obtain a fully documented overview of the structural condition of their assets in a timely and cost-effective manner. Whether it is at the time of delivery, before the end of warranty, during a change of ownership, or when considering lifetime extension, this joint solution provides valuable insights for decision-making.

Lars Vesth, Chief Operating Officer at FORCE Technology, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, “FORCE Technology is pleased to work with BladeBUG to offer this unique solution for remotely operated scanning of wind turbine blades, both on- and offshore. Due to the rapid ramping up of production in the industry, and the unprecedented scaling up of components seen in the last few years, new and efficient structural inspection concepts are needed.”

The collaboration between BladeBUG and FORCE Technology represents a significant step forward in the pursuit of safe, reliable, and sustainable wind energy. By leveraging their combined expertise and embracing pioneering technology, both companies are committed to driving positive change in the industry.

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