Innovate inspection of confined spaces
Offshore wind turbines are battered by wind, waves, and rain around the clock as they produce clean energy. Timely, efficient maintenance is critical to ensure that the turbines don’t break down and production stops.
To perform maintenance on the turbines, Ørsted sent crews of 4 inspection workers. Half of the crew would remain outside the turbine, while the others would enter the confined space to conduct visual inspection manually. A resource- and time-intensive process with inherent safety risks from entering an enclosed space.
By using a drone to conduct inspections, and then using software and artificial intelligence on the data collected by the drone, Ørsted would be able to speed up inspection time, cut costs, boost production, and make work safer for maintenance workers.
Drones and artificial intelligence
Ørsted chose Microsoft and the Industrial DataOps platform, Cognite Data Fusion® to digitalize the offshore wind producer’s maintenance process and enable repeatable drone inspections in confined interior spaces of its monopile wind turbines.
Ørsted’s maintenance technicians used a drone to fly inside the structure of the wind turbines and collect images and other sensor data. The data is then automatically extracted from the drone provider’s cloud platform and organized in Cognite Data Fusion® in order to provide Ørsted’s domain experts with the necessary information to perform digital inspections.Powered by Microsoft Azure’s cloud computing services, Cognite Data Fusion® enabled Ørsted to run computer vision models on the data to track corrosion and cracks. An important aspect for this project was Cognite Data Fusion’s® ability to rapidly scale this solution across other offshore wind parks to provide real measurable value.
A data-driven approach to maintenance
By combining drones, industrial expertise, cloud computing services from Microsoft, and Industrial DataOps software from Cognite, Ørsted can turn inspection data into business value.
The new, data-driven approach to inspection gives Ørsted’s technicians a complete overview of developing maintenance issues. This enables the company to reduce the number of technicians needed to conduct maintenance from four to two, and eliminates the need to physically enter enclosed spaces within the foundation of the wind turbines.
Ørsted estimates that innovating inspection of wind turbines will:
- Improved safety: By using drones, instead of people, in high-risk areas, Ørsted is able to provide a safer work environment for its engineers.
- Significantly reduce maintenance cost: By using fewer engineers and moving from manual to digital inspections, the maintenance process is faster and cheaper to complete.
- Increase production: By reducing the amount of time a wind turbine is shut down for inspection, Ørsted is able to increase energy production.