GE supports robotic solution for repairing wind turbine blades and bolts
GE Renewable Energy is supporting the merger of two technology solutions to help automate blade and bolt repair and reduce costs.
He will serve as a technology advisor to the collaborative efforts of BladeBug and EchoBolt.
The technologies of both companies were developed under earlier projects funded and brought together by UK research and development centers, InnovateUK and ORE Catapult.
BladeBUG’s six-legged inspection and repair robot can remotely tackle critical infrastructure, including wind turbines. Its developer aims to use the robot to inspect blade surfaces to detect emerging cracks and imperfections, transmit data on their condition and resurface the blades.
Meanwhile, EchoBolt’s portable ultrasonic inspection device can detect bolt tension using ultrasound, saving technicians from loosening and tightening bolts with hydraulic tools.
The new partnership will see the EchoBolt device installed on the BladeBUG robot, so it can crawl over turbines and perform tests using ultrasound.
GE Renewable Energy estimates that the merger of corporate technologies could reduce bolt maintenance and repair bills by 75%. By 2030, this could amount to an annual saving of Â£ 150m (173m) in the UK wind sector, onshore and offshore.
The US manufacturer has previously backed similar technology from UK companies Tethys Energy Services and Aerones, and plans to offer technical support and advice on how to deploy the solution to offshore wind farms.