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Advice for getting into the industry

Dave Pitman

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@Philippe
Thanks for the valuable insight. We don't have wind turbines in my half of the state, but the idea of inspecting them will a drone sounds very interesting. I'm wondering what platform and camera you have chosen.
 

Jesse G

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Hello,

I have been working in windturbines maintenance for about 10 years in France for a major company.
I just start a business to make wind turbines blade inspection with drone.
Lots of your remarks are good , drones are quicker and safer than people up in the air... but will not replace specialist technicians and will not do the work.

Whatever you do around wind turbines they are always stop for safety reasons.
When the wind is more than 8m/s the owner wants production. so this is an argument that you have to keep in mind, which is good for your safety and they will agree with that.

all turbines are 0,75 MW and more are controled and monitored from remote, they have hundreds of sensors for level, temperature, vibration, production and wind. so every informations are already under control.
IR camera are usefull for electical connection in cabinets like any industrial application, that's inside.
So IR camera on a drone is not helping on a wind turbine.

Keep working on it.
Thanks for the great information! I'm also wondering what drone platform you have chosen to start your business with? I have an Inspire 1 pro with multiple prime and zoom lenses and was hoping that would be sufficient. I'm wondering how energy companies feel about obstacle avoidance capabilities since the I1 doesn't have them?
 

Outta Control

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As Kelly has stated, I also believe IR has a potential outside of the turbine Nacelle. In the right conditions, the IR may identify stress fractures or wear on the blade. Bearing the the most obvious but we would never know unless we try.
 

Philippe

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Hello,

As I'm a new company, I start with the minimum investment. Pantom3 Pro with Skycristal.
my test are on the way, and I already know I need better stuff.
I plan to go to Pantom4 Pro with better camera and proximity sensors.
Most important is an app can control the drone to keep the right distance from turbine.
That why I don't plan to invest in Matrice 200 yet.
I did contact DJI and Pix4D to make a proper App, but with no success so far.
I'm looking for a delopper to help me in this project. it's on the way.
I can tell manual control is stressfull and photos are poor quality.

Today I talked with wind turbine owner, they told me it's good idea to make photo of blades and tower after a cleaning (after grease or oil leak for eample)
that helpful to make end of job point.
Same thing for grass and trees are growing too much and could block access around turbines and platform for crane, when necessary.

here are some points you can think about.

Take it easy...

Philippe
 

Philippe

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Hello all,

As my previous message disappeared, I would come back on opportunity in wind turbines inspections.
Most of the technology inside is accessible from remote or technicians can climb inside to see , inspect, maintain and repair.

Outside of turbines is not easy access and cost a lot to access with rope access techs or crane.
And could cost lot more not to check at all. The worse situation is a broken blade.

The case is about the same as wings plane. they are checks regularly for thunder damage.
Airbus start doing it with drone to save time on inspections. Donecle – Lightning fast inspections

On wind turbines this inspections are not properly done and mostly not done at all.
So first of all wind turbines owner have to understand the value of this informations , then we will make business.

US and Europe is about the same situation, most of wind turbines are under warranty.
So owners trust manufacturers and have no risk to loose money, because of warranty.

This is my point of view on blade inspections. it's a new business and not mature yet.
 

Bobby A.

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Have read with great interest all these comments concerning turbine inspections. Check out SkySpecs for information concerning wind turbine inspections (both onshore and offshore). We are currently operating on 4 continents and to date have completed 11,000+ wind turbine inspections (or 33,000+ blades). This has been achieved by utilizing our own in house developed autonomous flight software which allows centimeter accuracy with a high degree of repeatability tower after tower. Clients can view high resolution pics of each of the 4 sides of each blade helping them monitor the conditions of their assets and schedule maintenance accordingly.
Wind conditions near and around the towers and blades require a commercial grade UAVs (6 to 8 rotor) to maintain position with a higher degree of accuracy and to provide an extremely stable platform to produce high quality pics for the inspection. Often we are flying/working in winds in the 8 to 16 MPS (metres per second) range which is generally higher than the working limits of a Phantom or Inspire. Just some FYI info for those out there considering the wind turbine inspection market. Now days to be successful you must provide the client with "one stop inspection" , meaning you do the inspection and provide the analytical data analysis post inspection, then be able to repeat the process with high degree of accuracy/repeatability in follow up inspections later.
 
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