Inuktun Sighting #75: As the Wind Turbine Turns

Priscilla Johnson

Content Marketing Lead

We were recently invited to demonstrate a remote crawler solution for inspecting the inside of wind turbine blades on operational turbines in Bad Axe, Michigan. We were given a first-hand look at how operators require regular remote visual inspection both internally and externally for wind farm assets.

Equipped with the Inuktun MaggHD™ miniature magnetic crawler, spokesperson Bill Tarant travelled up to the nacelle with an onsite technician to show the crawler’s high definition inspection capabilities in confined spaces.

From the nacelle, Tarant started the crawler on its journey down the centre channel - the largest area of the blade. At the hub side, the vertical distance is over six feet but it tapers down to only a few inches at the tip. The onsite technician was handed the joystick controller and, within a matter of minutes, he was positioning the vehicle and performing inspections.

“I was a novice when I was first sent the MaggHD. I learned by driving it. The joysticks operate the crawler no differently than it would a video game tank. One joystick is for the direction and speed of the crawler tracks and the other operates the camera up and down. The triggers in the front zoom in and out and the thumb rocker switch turns on the lights. I had no doubt that any of these techs could operate this system.” — Bill Tarant

The MaggHD™ was also demonstrated climbing up the tower to the blades allowing the camera to inspect for damage. This powerful but small vehicle is equipped with rare earth magnets that keep the crawler securely attached to the tower, with the tracks positioned to ensure the best possible traction. The site supervisor was impressed with what he saw; he had just been up that same tower doing a visual inspection and noted that the HD camera captured better viewing and superior images.

“There are advantages to using a crawler over the current methods like RATs (Rope Access Technicians), Drones and photography from the ground level. The MaggHD works in wind and rain and can work at night. It gets close to the blades set at 6 o’clock and can zoom in to capture 1080p images and video. With the lasers turned on it provides a measurement reference pair or lines seven centimeters apart. It can be operated in the comfort of the tower base or an inspection truck.” — Bill Tarant

Our Inuktun remote inspection systems can carry more than just a camera and lights. We have built crawlers to deliver ultrasonic measurement, eddy current, GPR, sonar, 3D laser scanners, high pressure water jets, cleaning brushes and much more.

For more information on the MaggHD™ and the rest of our Inuktun Multi-Mission Modular (IM3™) technology, contact our friendly and knowledgeable staff today. And don’t forget to send us your own #InuktunInTheWild sightings to be featured on our blog!

Let's Talk!