19 Jul 2024

New drone inspection service for wind turbines

Drone in Riffgat

Omexom Renewable Energies Offshore, the Offshore division of the VINCI Energies brand Omexom, a leading provider of innovative technology solutions in the offshore wind sector, has announced it has introduced its new inspection service for wind turbines.

The company says the service employs state-of-the-art drones combined with AI technology to carry out inspections of rotor blades and the solution allows faster inspections with an increased accuracy of results and lower incurring cost to customers.

After receiving the DAkkS accreditation of its inspection body in 2021, Omexom Offshore says it focused on the development of innovative methods that lead to high-quality inspection results. Own tests carried out throughout the development confirmed that the combination of drone technology, an AI supported database and subsequent expert analysis, was a very powerful tool to deliver conformity evaluations to customers in line with the requirements of the authorities.

Omexom says the OBSERVAERO solution grants its customers a full insight in the status of its assets. This is achieved by using up-to-date drone technology with optimised methods of photography for high-quality pictures of the rotor blades. These pictures are then pre-assessed by a computer-vision engine in the customised-developed data platform, which enables inspectors and customers to view and manage the inspection results user-friendly and efficiently.

The development of the AI-platform was completely executed by internal resources of the VINCI group, to which Omexom Offshore has belonged to since 2020. The development setup allows Omexom to customise its solution to all sorts of customers. The development was supported by several VINCI innovation programmes, highlighting the strong commitment of the group to renewable energies and innovative technologies. Since the emergence of drones in the market of visual inspection of energy assets, the comparability of them to the traditionally used rope-access inspection has been highly discussed. The development initiative was accompanied by a validation scheme to finally clear the way for drone-based inspection results being compliant with regulative recurrent inspection requirements offshore, such that rope-access inspection could focus on detailed damage assessment and repair.

Omexom says that by 20 July 2023 the compliance of its methodology to the BSH (Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie / Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Authority) requirements was confirmed by the independent certification body Hanseatic PowerCert (HPC). With that, Omexom says it can now provide recurrent inspections of rotor blades via drones. The assessment of HPC furtherly emphasises that the methodology of Omexom delivers at least equivalent insights as rope-access inspections.

“Our new solution for drone-based and AI-supported rotor blade inspection is just the first step of innovative services provided by Omexom Renewable Energies Offshore to ensure and optimise the operation of wind turbines of our customers today and in the future,” says Lennart Reepschläger, Project Manager at Omexom Offshore.

The new inspection service is available now and can be used by all customers worldwide.