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Vestas extends Sulzer & Schmid’s new drone tech in Asia-Pacific


Sulzer & Schmid announced that Vestas has extended the use of its new DJI drone-based blade inspection technology to offer enhanced inspection services across wind farms in the Asia-Pacific region.

Sulzer & Schmid, a Swiss company pioneering UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) technology for wind rotor blade inspections, teamed up with Chinese drone specialist, DJI, to provide this solution.

The new technology enables wind turbine manufacturer Vestas to expand its expertise and offering for blade servicing and maintenance.

The solution combines autonomous flight function, exceptionally high-resolution imaging, and an advanced software interface enabling Vestas to reduce blade inspection time and maximize turbine uptime.

To bring this new solution to the market, Sulzer & Schmid and DJI have combined their respective expertise to develop a new flight technology stack which enables the industrial grade UAV DJI Matrice 210 to autonomously inspect wind turbine blades.

The autonomous flight hardware and software are sub-components of the 3DXTM Inspection Platform of Sulzer & Schmid. This cutting-edge platform supports the entire inspection workflow, which includes data capture, processing, and result exploration. The high-quality images captured by the drones are analysed aided by Artificial Intelligence, and data mining across entire wind energy portfolios are performed via Sulzer & Schmid’s proprietary 3DX™ Blade Health Platform.

“We are convinced that our 3DXTM Inspection Platform will make wind energy more cost effective, as it leads the way in providing the essential data foundation needed to optimize repair campaigns through predictive damage progression analytics,” said Tom Sulzer, CEO of Sulzer & Schmid.

Vestas has initially deployed the solution to interested customers in Australia and, will now be expanding the service to other countries in the Asia Pacific Region.

“At Vestas, we are constantly pushing the envelope to provide the most cost-efficient energy solutions to our customers. Partnering with Sulzer & Schmid and DJI for autonomous rotor blade inspections enables our in-house blade engineers to offer comprehensive and timely blade assessments, and therefore recommend more suitable repair solutions for the ultimate longevity of our customers’ assets,” explained Clive Turton, President of Vestas Asia Pacific.

Drone technology has tremendous potential to drive digital transformation across a range of industries. “Vestas’ adoption of this new blade inspection technology is a perfect example to show how technology leaders can innovate together, and demonstrate the efficiency of autonomous aerial inspection technology in the wind energy industry and beyond,” said Jan Gasparic, Director of Strategic Partnerships at DJI Enterprise.

Originally published on Power Engineering International.

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