BladeBUG shows wind turbine inspection robot -video

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

UK robot developer BladeBUG has launched a version of its monitoring system with a waterproof covering to protect it when carrying out essential inspection and maintenance of wind turbines.

The six-legged crawling robot inspects and repairs turbine blades by walking on them rather than using human technicians. The system has been in development for a year, undergoing rigorous testing including being hung on a real blade, and testing of its body movement and walking gait.

“We are really looking forward to showing our investors and the industry what we have achieved so far with the latest robot. The BladeBUG has, until now, appeared to be exposed to the elements without an outer casing to protect it. That has all changed with our latest model, which is more versatile and robust than ever before,” said Chris Cieslak, Director and Founder at BladeBUG.

“The BladeBUG robot has been designed to reduce costly turbine shut downs for our wind energy clients. It’s important these projects operate as smoothly as possible as the UK focuses its energy supply on renewable resources. We know the new-look robot is going to demand a lot of attention and we look forward to introducing our supporters and investors to it over the coming months.”

The latest version was funded by a €150,000 grant from the Robots for Inspection Network (RIMA), which last year awarded BladeBUG and EGGS Design to develop the robot and improve its usability for professional users.

EGGS has worked with a variety of robotics and mechanical engineering projects to commercialise and develop products for production and industrial use. Their experience from delivering designs for extreme environments and professional users provided valuable experience while collaborating with BladeBUG.

“The grant really opened up an amazing opportunity to work with the very capable team at EGGS, while giving us access to RIMA network research groups. It’s helped us to understand technical challenges better and help widen our solutions for the market,” said Cieslak.

In tests earlier this year, the first BladeBUG advanced robot was deployed in just 35 minutes to inspect areas of concern on a turbine blade – up to half the time it would take a human rope access technician. And in 2021, the robot carried out a Lightning Protection Systems check during its first blade walk.

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