Revolutionising Wind Turbine Structural Monitoring

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Scalable, non-destructive, and continuous structural monitoring of wind turbine towers and jacket structures will reduce operations and maintenance costs and extend asset life.

The Operations and Maintenance (O&M) wind energy market is becoming increasingly competitive as operators strive to reduce costs. O&M costs represent 30% of the Levelised Cost of Energy, and the installation of larger turbines offshore is expected to increase these costs. With up to 90% of expenditures resulting from inspections, it is crucial to minimise them to ensure the industry’s long-term growth and affordability.

Transmission Dynamics has developed a cutting-edge ultrasonics guided wave pulser receiver system, SonicEcho, which offers non-intrusive structural surveying of wind turbine jacket structures, towers, and monopiles. The system employs Guided Wave Technology to scan a wide area from a single position. Operators have full control over the direction of the ultrasonic wave propagation, allowing them to quickly scan areas of interest from long range and remotely access the results. This provides advance warning of developing structural defects such as cracks, perforations, and thinning due to corrosion, enabling preventative maintenance and eliminating the need for unnecessary and costly precautionary inspections.

The system’s robust and flexible 70 kHz EMATs (Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducers) can be attached to painted or unpainted surfaces using adhesive. They emit guided waves and detect the response as the wave reflects off any imperfections or faults. These waves can travel around bends and other geometries, making it possible to inspect regions of structures that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Modular transducers can be tiled together to cover larger diameter structures, allowing for longer range scanning and better data quality. The ultrasonic waves are generated using the low-cost, lightweight, low-power, IP68 Pulser/Receiver Unit. Inspections are automated, and test parameters fully customisable. The data is acquired and processed remotely with automated reports sent to the customer.

The unit is designed to be in operations for the asset lifespan without requiring maintenance. Due to low-cost, the pulser receiver units can be permanently mounted and left unattended.

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