"The wind turbine industry is the fastest growing market area for the use of composite materials. Current state-of-the-art turbines are increasing in size, providing multi-megawatt power output. To generate such power turbine rotorblade diameters exceeding 100m along with nacelle heights of 120m are becoming standard. As turbines grow and their deployment becomes more widespread and remote, it is becoming increasingly important that systems are put in place to monitor their condition in real time. Such monitoring offers significant cost of ownership savings through condition based maintenance, reduced downtime and a reduced likelihood of catastrophic failure.
Even though important efforts have taken place lately towards condition based maintenance, there has been limited action concerning the “next step”, which should take place after the localisation of potential damage (in regards to the reparation of the blades). Existing solutions require (in most cases) the disassembly of the turbine blades and shipping to specialized composite repair facilities, which results in increased time and money requirements. Should appropriate tooling be available to enable in-situ repair of turbine blades, it is estimated that large-scale reductions could be achieved (both in terms of time and money).
Within this project novel adapted tooling will be developed, which complies to wind turbine specificities and requirements (easily mounted, lightweight, fast and robust equipment) in order to enable the in-situ performance of the three major composite repair steps: Non Destructive Inspection, Surface Preparation, Hot Bonding.
According to the developments of this project, which will enable in-situ repair of turbine blades for a wide variety of cases, it is estimated that large-scale reductions could be achieved both in terms of system availability and cost by minimizing the cases that require disassembly of blades and transportation to repair shop for rehabilitation."
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