The predicted growth of wind turbines in Europe indicates an increase in output of 30% per annum until 2010 This expansion could be supported by expanding the offshore market or through the use of larger turbines elsewhere Blades in excess of 100m in lengt h are being considered to service the required outputs, these must be manufactured in a cost effective manner using cheap, strong and lightweight materials. Glass reinforced plastics (GRP) are used increasingly in place of metal, because they are lightweig ht and corrosion resistant. One major issue that has arisen through the increased use of this material is the lack of testing techniques suitable for the rapid and accurate inspection of large areas. The development of suitable Non-Destructive Testing (NDT ) techniques is essential to allow European wind turbine blade (WTB) manufacturers to successfully employ the most desirable materials that maximise the efficiency of the WTB's and provide a competitive advantage over non-European competitors. The consort ium proposes to develop new and novel automated NDT techniques for the inspection of GRP WTBs. This precompetitive project represents a step change to the current state of art by advancing technology and improving the competitive advantage of European SMEs and LEs. The systems will be applied using a novel automated crawler, minimising the use of manual inspections that are unrepeatable and do not ensure complete areacoverage. The techniques developed will provide a suite of inspection solutions for all typ es of in service and future WTB designs. The techniques will detect and size all of the defect types for each of the blades, given the restrictions of component access, location and environmental surroundings. Both maintenance sectors and manufacturing loc ations have been targeted. Hence the "ReNEWiT" project is designed to deliver total solutions to the total inspection requirements of the total WTB industry.
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