One of the more challenging things about operating and maintaining wind turbines is having to work your schedule around the weather. It’s a particular problem when there is repair work that desperately needs to be done on the blades, but technicians can’t access them because of rain or icy conditions. A new development from turbine blade experts Bladefence looks set to solve this problem.
Simply called Bladefender, the solution is a covered, environmentally-controlled habitat that attaches to the basket of the technician’s skylift. It allows full access to the blades while giving the technicians shelter.
This isn’t simply a question of keeping the technicians warm and dry. It also helps the repair process itself. The materials that are commonly used to repair blades often don’t work at extreme temperatures. Epoxy resins, for example, will not set at temperatures below 15°C or above 25°C, or at humidity levels above 70%. The Bladefender enables technicians to control the environment around the blade to ensure that the repair work gets done properly and timeously.
With Bladefender, blade repairs can be done with minimal weather waiting hours and turbines can be brought back online more quickly. This reduction in downtime has the potential to create significant reductions in operations costs and keep turbines running all year round. It’s the kind of innovation that can be of enormous benefit to smooth running of the wind energy industry.
Wind energy can be costly and downtime is best avoided. With regularly scheduled maintenance – which can now take place at any time of year – carried out by a dedicated service partner, you can reduce costs and extend the lives of your turbines.