U.K. energy company SSE PLC has enlisted the services of Cyberhawk Innovations, a provider of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-based inspection work, to carry out close visual inspections of more than 600 wind turbine blades.
The campaign, which began last month, involves work across SSE wind projects in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The company’s drone inspection solution captures images of the entire blade surface of each turbine. In turn, Cyberhawk’s wind engineers can locate, size and categorize any defects.
This information is delivered through Cyberhawk’s cloud-based asset management software, iHawk, which allows SSE to easily understand the condition of all assets and provides access to the images, engineering commentary and defect severities.
With its UAV-based method, Cyberhawk says it can inspect three to five turbines per day and mitigate the risks of a rope-access method; in comparison, rope access may facilitate the inspection of only one turbine per day.
“Throughout 2015, Cyberhawk completed a significant number of turbine inspections for SSE to support meeting its inspection targets,” says Philip Buchan, commercial director at Cyberhawk. “Successfully securing this project for 2016 reinforces our relationship with SSE – further underpinning our reputation and capabilities within the wind sector.”
Headquartered in Livingston, Scotland, Cyberhawk also has bases in the Middle East and Southeast Asia and recently opened an office in Houston. The company operates in the utility, oil and gas, renewables, and rail sectors.