Thursday, 30 November 2017

Wind Turbine Operations and Maintenance to Become Safer with Introduction of Robotics

Components such as control systems, gears, electric systems, blades, rotors, generators, hydraulics, and sensors are integral parts of wind turbines and are susceptible to failure. Unexpected breakdown of turbine parts adversely affects productivity. Effective maintenance at regular periods of time helps curb failure rate and thus, enhance operational efficiency by reducing downtime.

What comprises ‘wind turbine operations and maintenance’?

Wind turbine operations and maintenance services include operation, troubleshoot, maintenance, and repair of wind turbines installed at wind farms. These services also consist of unscheduled maintenance, scheduled maintenance, remote monitoring, and asset administration. Generally, wind turbine manufacturers (mostly OEMs), independent service providers (ISPs), and in-house teams are involved in providing operations and maintenance services.

3M Partners with Santa Cruz to Use Drones for Wind Turbine Maintenance

Operations and maintenance of wind turbines involve high cost and risk. To address these issues, importance is being given to development of technologies that make wind turbine operations and maintenance safer and less costly. For instance, in August 2017, 3M teamed up with Santa Cruz to introduce small industrial robots mounted on drones that conduct routine inspections and maintenance of wind turbines. For the working, pilots with FAA-certificates will ensure safe flight perimeter and properly position the blades. After this, several specialized robots will conduct operations and maintenance with products by 3M.

Market Insights

Market growth can be largely attributed to widening capacity installations of wind energy. Increasing efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuels are boosting adoption of renewable and clean energy sources such as wind energy. Conducive government policies and attractive incentives are encouraging development of wind farms across the globe, which in turn is likely to work in favor of the market. 

According to Grand View Research Inc., technological innovations and growing focus on establishing cost-effective operations and maintenance are estimated to propel the market over the coming years. On the flip side, sluggish growth in electric consumption worldwide can inhibit the growth of the market. 

Some of the key players in the market are GE Wind Turbine, Suzlon Group, Siemens Wind Power GmbH, Enercon GmbH, and Gamesa Corporation.

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