The aim of this research project SMART is the development of a tower climbing service platform for wind turbines. By application of a working cabin the rotor blade is encased at a desired section, so that failure detection and maintenance can be carried out independent of weather conditions. Within the working platform at great high workers can move and work freely, safely and without dizziness. In particular cases it is possible to carry out both measurements as well as repair technologies autonomously or remote-controlled if no manpower in the cab needed. In combination with a trend monitoring system, the analysis of the measured data can be automated to increase the availability of wind turbines sustainably.
Taking into account the requirements of the industry particularly for the rapid logistics and easy installation SMART logistic platform provides added value for the economically effective use.
The project was funded by the BMWi with a funding sum of approximately € 5.3 million for the project duration of four years in two phases. In the first phase, a demonstrator was developed, built and put into operation at FH Aachen in 2015. In the second phase of the project, a prototype for the maintenance of 2.5 MW turbines will be developed, tested and certified by 2019.
Advantages of the SMART Project:
A) The Working platform can be applied on wind turbines day and night continuously throughout the year independent of weather conditions. Additionally the SMART-concept provides the following options of application:
1) Semi-autonomous or remote-controlled repair of rotor blades can be applied e.g. Laser scarfing
2) Non-destructive materials testing by using thermography, microwave and ultrasonic instruments etc.,
3) Trend monitoring and data analysis increases the availability of wind turbines in the long run,
B) Cleaning, inspection (e.g. ultrasonic of tower welding) and maintenance of tower surface,
C) Transportation of wind turbine components