Wind Turbine Maintenance and Inspection Using Rope Access
The United Kingdom has become the world's sixth largest producer of wind power and currently houses 6,546 wind turbines (as of August 2015). Wind turbines are located both onshore (primarily in rural locations) and off shore. London Array is currently the largest offshore wind farm in the world and also the largest wind farm in Europe by megawatt capacity. In 2014 wind farms contributed 9.3% of the UK's electricity requirement.
Because of their rural locale (both on and offshore) accessing wind turbines for industrial inspections maintenance work can often be difficult. Rope access offers a great access alternative to cranes and scissor lifts.
Wind Turbine Maintenance
In order to perform to their optimal capacity wind turbines need be maintained and inspected regularly. Problems can occur on the blades, tower or nacelle (the area which houses all of the generating components including the generator, gearbox, drive train, and brake assembly). It is important that all of these elements receive regular inspection and maintenance.
Wind turbine inspection and maintenance jobs that may be required include:
- Wind tower cleaning.
- Blade cleaning, inspections and repairs.
- Nacelle cleaning, inspections and repairs.
- Gear box cleaning.
- Confined entry into blades and hub areas for inspection and repairs.
- Emergency repairs.
Replacing the Blades on a Wind Turbine
Replacing a blade on a wind turbine is one of the most difficult wind turbine maintenance jobs. Blades can be up to 60 meters long and weigh more than 16 tonnes. Coupled with the height from the ground and the expected prevailing winds, replacing blades can be a challenging process.
Why Use Rope Access for Wind Turbine Inspection & Maintenance?
There are many reasons why you may choose rope access as your height access method. Rope access developed from techniques used in caving, abseiling and climbing which allows workers to scale buildings and structures and manoeuvre into difficult-to-access positions that can often not be reached by other height access methods such as scaffolding or scissor lifts. As the name suggests, rope access technicians use ropes to ascend and descend facades. Ropes also improve the techniques safety as tools and the technicians themselves are unlikely to trip or fall.
Rope access techniques provide a safer and more cost effective alternative to other height access methods. Since they require fewer resources, response time is much faster than the other height access systems. There is no need to create room or spend time putting in place heavy machinery or scaffolding. Because of this, rope access is also a much more environmentally friendly way to carry out work at height.
Inspection & Rope Access Specialists: Rope Access Company in Scotland
Inspection & Rope Access Specialists' team of rope access specialists have experience in the maintenance of wind turbines. Working nationwide we have established ourselves as a professional and experienced team who provide a range of comprehensive services reliably and safely.
We have many years experience in rope access in a number of different applications including wind turbines both on- and off-shore. To speak with one of our team please fill out our Contact Form.