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A Catapult engineer inspects ATAM Group's MagTrack robotic crawler before testing at the National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth.

Intro

April 2018

Sending personnel to inspect wind turbines for damage can be a costly, dangerous, and time-consuming process, which is why advances in robotics and autonomous systems have the potential to make important contributions to reducing the cost of energy and the inherent risks of offshore working.

Published
Wed 13 Jun 2018
Last Updated
Wed 13 Jun 2018

The Challenge

Remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) like oil and gas specialists ATAM Group’s MagTrack robotic crawler represent a breakthrough in offshore wind ROV technology. The MagTrack uses magnetic technology to grip and climb the turbine’s tower, beaming back images of its blades using an inbuilt high definition camera.

The dedicated 27m turbine Training Tower at the Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth provided a perfect platform for ATAM to test MagTrack’s effectiveness in conditions similar to those experienced on an offshore wind turbine.

The Solution

The dedicated 27m turbine Training Tower at the Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth provided a perfect platform for ATAM to test MagTrack’s effectiveness in conditions similar to those experienced on an offshore wind turbine. Engineers from the Catapult witnessed the test and supported ATAM with independent advice, making a number of recommendations to help the Great Yarmouth-based firm deploy proof of concept and de-risk the ROV as a solution for the offshore wind industry.

And in forthcoming tests, the Catapult will help investigate the feasibility of adapting ATAM MagTrack to crawl inside turbine blades and also deploy its available non-destructive testing tools from the magnetic platform, an innovation which has the potential to yield enormous benefits in terms of cost and technician safety.

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Catapult engineers independently witnessed the ATAM MagTrack tests and provided tailored offshore wind expertise, accelerating its deployment.

O&M makes up 20% of offshore wind lifetime costs. Innovations like the ATAM MagTrack will help reduce downtime losses and increase power generated, making significant savings.

Our 27m Training Tower allows technology developers to test and demonstrate their new products in realistic wind farm conditions.

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