WTG manufacturer Vestas has selected a drone-based solution for a large-scale blades inspection programme in Scandinavia.

The wind turbine company has signed a contract with Switzerland-based Sulzer Schmid and German firm WKA to carry out inspection services on 1250 Vestas turbines located across Sweden and Finland.

Vestas says it selected a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) solution for the project in part due to time pressures as the blade inspection work must be completed by the end of June in time for the summer repair season. The drone solution “is the only approach that can meet [our] high-quality standards within such a demanding time-frame”, Vestas said in a statement.

WKA & Sulzer Schmid joined forces to offer the UAV solution to Vestas. Under their partnership, Sulzer Schmid’s cutting-edge drone-based inspection technology will be combined with WKA’s qualified field personnel and rotor blade expertise.

WKA will deploy drones equipped with cameras and sensors to capture and record blade defects and ensure smooth operations in the field. The project management will be supported by ROBUR company TEC GmbH, an industrial services specialist.

Thanks to the new capabilities offered by unmanned aerial vehicles, the market for drone-based rotor blade inspections is developing rapidly.  “We are convinced that drone-based inspection will become the new standard in the wind industry. In combination with an efficient field operation and a streamlined digital information flow, this innovative solution will add a lot of value to our customers. We are looking forward to seeing the results of WKA and Sulzer Schmid’s collaboration on this inspection campaign,” commented Jöns Sjösted, Senior Service Director, Sweden & Finland of Vestas Northern & Central Europe.