Wind energy is a fast growing (>20% pa) industry worldwide and European companies have two-thirds of the share, according to European Wind Energy Association. Due to the increase in wind farms, new techniques are required to provide maintenance and inspection of the wind installations with reduced cost and enhanced reliability. It is estimated that the business opportunity for wind turbine blade inspection is at least € 1bn per annum, and is increasing rapidly.
In the DashWin project, a novel non-contact NDT system will be developed. It will consist of an advanced shearography kit and a robotic deployment platform. The system will be able to inspect composite wind turbine blades (WTB) on-site without dismantling the blades, so that WTB degradation due to fatigue or natural incidents can be found before a breakdown or catastrophic failure occurs. The DashWin NDT system will perform automated wind turbine blade (WTB) inspection, detecting surface and sub-surface defects (to a depth of up to 50mm), using advanced digital image correlation (DIC) shearography techniques.