Posted by Big Gav in wind power
GE has a promotional article on the use of robots in maintaining wind turbines - Go Go Gadget: Robotic Crawler Rides Up 300-Foot Poles to Inspect Wind Turbine Blades.
checking machinery propped 300 feet high and buffeted by the weather can be tricky. Take wind turbines. An inspector in the field must brake the turbine, rotate the blades, and inspect and photograph any potential defects through a telescope. The process can take up to four hours.
Engineers at GE’s Global Research Center tried something different. They partnered with a New York robotics company called International Climbing Machines (ICM) that developed a remote-controlled wall climbing robot, and strapped a wireless high-definition video camera to its back. The device can scale vertical, 300-foot high steel turbine poles in minutes, photograph turbine blades, and beam the results back to earth.