Cyberhawk recently completed its first project in Turkey after being selected by a major wind farm operator to inspect a number of turbines across two wind farms.
Our two man team, which comprised an industry qualified inspection engineer and an experienced turbine UAV pilot, mobilised to inspect 23 of the oldest turbines in the fleet to determine the levels of damage and asset integrity. Turbines in these particular sites require regular inspection as the region is subject to frequent storms and lightning strikes, therefore up-to-date condition assessments are crucial.
The advantages of using a drone for this inspection campaign include:
Lower risk than traditional rope access inspection – avoiding the need to climb up and down the turbines whilst attached to ropes, and extended periods of working at height
Non-contact – using an experienced drone pilot meant any potential contact with the blades was avoided, therefore removing the risk of damage
Less downtime – the speed of inspection meant that turbine downtime was minimised, and the full inspection campaign could be completed quicker than using rope access.
During the limited time that the turbines were taken out of operation, competent technicians (CT) were able to access the nacelle and hub while the drone inspections were being carried out. This allowed the CTs to make effective use of the turbine downtime to conduct required checks and other minor works.
Back in the UK, our inspection reporting team worked methodically through the visual inspection data to create detailed engineering reports for the client. Any priority areas were flagged up to the client while the reporting was taking place, so that repair works could be planned and targeted correctly.
Reports on all 23 turbines, blades and towers were delivered via iHawk, our cloud-based asset management software, which allows clients to view assets on a map-based interface, identify the severity of any damage or integrity problems using a traffic light colour coded system and drill down into detailed visual inspection imagery, which can be used to improve decision-making and maintenance planning.