Why scale a 300-foot wind turbine when you can get a robot to do the work?
GE Global Research is advancing technology that will make the inspection of wind turbines faster and more reliable for customers. According to a recent company press release, during the inspection process inspectors now examine turbine blades from the ground, about 328-feet away, by using a high-power telescope. Now, partnering with Ithaca, N.Y.-based International Climbing Machines (ICM), GE engineers have explored a way to do the work using a remote-controlled, robotic device that can scale the wind tower with a wireless, high-definition video camera strapped to its back.
The motivation for the closer inspection is to obtain a more accurate picture of the overall health of the wind turbine blades. From the safety of the ground, an inspector would have a real-time view of the blades from less than 33-feet away, allowing for a more thorough examination and evaluation of their condition.