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Drones to Perform Aerial Wind Farm Inspections

January 11, 2016

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ABS Group signs agreement with DroneView Technologies to inspect aerial wind turbines; drone wind turbine inspections provide a safer, cost-effective and data-driven solution.

ABS Group, a provider of technical inspection and verification services to the global power and wind energy industries, said it has signed an agreement with DroneView Technologies to deliver joint aerial wind turbine and equipment inspections utilizing drone technology.

According to ABS Group, drones provide a cost-effective, data-driven alternative to traditional inspections of aerial wind turbine blades at hazardous heights, which will drive safer, more efficient wind farm operations.

Ted Hofbauer, ABS Group Director of Renewables Business Development, said, “Drone wind turbine inspections are a game changing solution for the wind industry, providing safer inspection techniques, faster turnaround times, lower operations and maintenance costs and improved reliability.”

Michael Singer, CEO of DroneView Technologies, added, “These inspections are ideal for maintenance and especially for emergency situations in which climbing is not possible.”

The reliability and efficiency of wind turbines can be negatively affected by the condition of the equipment, which can experience wear and tear, fouling, erosion and lightning strikes. “Current practices for inspections of blades have been made by climbing crews, which can be high-risk, costly and time consuming,” Hofbauer explained. “Our agreement with DroneView Technologies combines ABS Group's global inspection capabilities and experience working with innovative technologies with next-generation digital tools to deliver a safer, lower cost solution for more efficient inspection of wind turbine blades. In addition, the continued development of this innovative technology allows the use of multiple sensors and devices, which are able to perform a multitude of capabilities.”

Potential damage to wind farm equipment will be surveyed using a drone controlled by a certified, licensed operator. The drone is capable of producing high-resolution photos and/or videos, which will be analyzed by an ABS Group wind turbine specialist. Based on the analysis, recommendations for operation and/or repair will be reported to the wind farm operator. The data computed by the drone and transmitted in real time to the operator can be stored in a maintenance archive of valuable data for future reference.

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