Aerones engineering is simply clever. Crocodile clips on steroids.
To perform blade lightning protection system troubleshooting we have to be able
to remotely mount a fixing that creates contact with the LPS system metallic
tip. This solution allows the Megger cable to be connected to the tip of the
blade. Then the other lead of the Megger cable with duplex probes is delivered
to the following down conductor receptor.
In the past, rope access crews would use the typical crocodile clips but it would
create a short and buzz the technician with an electric shock. Also, the crocodile
clips would tend to slip off the point of contact and decrease the precision
of the measurement due to poor contact. Aerones have engineered something that
rope access crews are now seeing useful on their daily tasks too.
We call it the sock mount. Any other name suggestions?
Advancing robotic LPS testing
Aerones have been working hard on the robotic technology for LPS conductivity measurements to improve quality and speed when compared to a typical LPS system inspection. We implement a proven and robust delivery system (our winches) and a robotic arm that carries the duplex Megger probes. Additionally, Aerones robotic arm has multiple cameras mounted near the probe to visually guide the probes to make contact with the receptor and capture close visual inspection images of the receptors.
One of the cameras captures high-resolution images, another one mounted on
a slight angle determines if the receptor puck is sitting flush with the
surface and the wide-angle camera captures the adjacent blade shell area
near the receptor. Aerones pilot sends the robot to a predefined inspection
data capture plan and our software tags each of the images with a resistance
reading and location metadata.
Then these images along with the receptor resistance measurements are uploaded
to Aerones servers and assessed later for the level of any sustained damage.
The damage criteria are developed closely together with the OEM. Receptors
are then tagged accordingly and any corrective actions determined.
Next level reporting
Our reports are compiled according to the BWE standards where the specific required data is recorded throughout the duration of the project. The LPS system’s corrective actions and recommendations are made according to IEC standards.
All inspection data is stored on the Aerones secure online cloud storage. Each
client has a login and can see the data populating as the project progresses.
Near real-time data has allowed us to identify problems at an early stage
of the project without losing valuable time and having to redo. A report
can be generated automatically and downloaded into a PDF or Excel format.
Our online platform is built in such a way that the data can be imported
into any platform using our API.
We have advanced the technology far enough to proudly tell that our LPS tests are the best on the market and provides the capabilities for inspections not available by any other method.
We believe that it`s important to share our findings with the industry and have decided to organize a webinar related to the wind turbine lightning protection systems and Aerones preventative maintenance solutions.
Aerones has secured a grant from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to fund 2.5M EUR in R&D to develop offshore capabilities of its established onshore wind turbine blade inspection, maintenance, and repair solution.
The grant will be used to adapt the already established onshore Aerones technology to be used in offshore applications. The innovative robotized access and maintenance system developed by Aerones is expected to result in reductions of crew transfer vessel fuel costs and emissions, reduce overall project execution times, and extend the service life of the turbine blades while supporting local coastal infrastructure.
The project will be implemented over 3 years in close cooperation with a consortium partner SIA Saunora (Latvia) and field trial partners including offshore wind industry leader GE Renewable Energy and Tethys Energy Services (United Kingdom). The objective of the project is to develop a remotely operated maintenance system for offshore wind turbines. The development will require a significant amount of R&D to adapt Aerones technologies for the sea:
For onshore turbines, Aerones has already developed a computer controllable winch access system, robotic manipulation arms with various specific tools, and overall control and quality assurance video monitoring suite. Using the onshore solution, Aerones has already serviced over 200 turbines over the last 3 months alone. Aerones technology has been widely recognized and approved vendor status has been awarded to service GE, Vestas, Nordex and Siemens Gamesa wind turbines.
“At Aerones we believe that this opportunity will enable us to build on core strengths and expand the services to the offshore wind. With the aid of the funding, we will significantly increase the engineering team’s capacity and run several at-sea trials to bring the existing onshore solution to a viable commercialized offshore service,” stated Janis Putrams, CEO of Aerones.
Innovative business solutions in the maritime industry are believed to be the new sunrise sector. Building on innovations in wind turbine maintenance and inspection and adapting them to offshore applications supports local coastal infrastructure, creating jobs, and making offshore wind more affordable and sustainable. Aerones is at the forefront of this industry transformation through making a tangible contribution to how offshore wind turbines are being serviced.
“With the contribution of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund of the European Union”
Novel remote blade maintenance technique for offshore wind farms wins accolades in an important competition organised by GE Renewable Energy and renewable energy research groups.
A demonstration from Tethys Energy Services (Tethys) and Aerones won through in a blade robotics innovation competition launched by GE Renewable Energy, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and KTN.
The organisers were looking for a robotics solution to automatically maintain offshore wind turbine blades and reduce unplanned offshore activity during the operations and maintenance (O&M) phase.
Tethys and Aerones developed a new offshore transportation and delivery system for onshore wind robotics technology to work offshore.
GE has now committed to offering technical support and guidance on how to deploy the technology on offshore projects.
Aerones CEO Janis Putrams said: “Not only are blades are getting longer, conditions are getting harsher, distances to site are increasing and the supply of experienced blade technicians is getting squeezed.
"We provide a market-leading scalable robotics solution that offers a full suite of blade services to solve this problem and remain convinced this is the only way for the industry to go to continue to reduce the levelised cost of energy.”
The Tethys/Aerones robot can provide advanced remote inspection, maintenance and repair tasks on offshore wind turbine blades.
The companies claim it is scalable, much safer and up to five times faster than conventional rope access and can “drastically” reduce turbine downtime.
Tethys and Aerones will now demonstrate the prototype technology on ORE Catapult’s 7MW Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine (formerly Samsung's Fife demo).
Vincent Schellings, GE Renewable Energy chief technology officer for offshore wind, said: “Innovative robotics solutions such as this have the ability to significantly reduce operation and maintenance cost for offshore wind turbines like the Haliade-X, the most powerful turbine in operation today.”
Tethys provides services to wind farms across Europe, growing its UK-based employees to 40 by 2024 while Aerones is looking at manufacturing the robots in the UK.
KTN and ORE Catapult used the Offshore Wind Innovation Hub’s Innovation Exchange (OWiX) to search for expertise robotics industry for GE.
ORE Catapult’s research and innovation director Dr Stephen Wyatt said: “Bringing through new innovations from the robotics sector to help improve the operations and performance of offshore wind farms, and to continue to drive down costs, is vital if the UK is to meet ambitious installation targets of 40 GW by 2030, and achieve net-zero by 2050.
"Supporting companies like Tethys and Aerones to further develop and enhance their technology, and showcase their products to the industry’s leading operators and turbine manufacturers, brings a huge boost to the UK offshore wind supply chain, helping to create jobs and generate millions of pounds for the UK economy.”
Robotics could cut offshore wind inspection costs by almost 40% by integrating remote operations, robotics and automated systems into operations and maintenance activities, according to research from ORE Catapult.
We, at Aerones, are proud to announce that Aerones, as well as our daughter company, the service provider, Aerones Nordic, recently became ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 certified
The two internationally recognized standards that set out the requirements for internal quality management systems, will bring added value to all verticals served by Aerones, including OEMs, wind farm owners as well as other service companies in the wind industry, which we partner with.
Aerones is one of only a few robotic maintenance systems manufacturers for wind turbine blade servicing in the world with ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 certifications.
Aerones initiated the process of being audited against the requirements of the ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 standards in order to continually increase our efficiency, to significantly accelerate the service quality and thus client satisfaction.”
Right now most conductivity tests for wind turbine (WTG) blades are performed via Rope Access: only the blade is measured, from the root of the blade to the receptors. When deploying Aerones robotic technology to do LPS measurements we use long wires to complete a full circuit test in order to check whether, in case of a lightning strike, the charge will actually be properly grounded.
Performing the full circuit test also allows us to find where the WTG LPS system has missing connections; i.e., between the hub and the nacelle, the nacelle and the tower, etc.
If the wind turbine has spark gaps, rolling lightning conductors, or carbon brushes, we create a shunt, i.e., a bridge, between these gaps.
Here's how our LPS inspection reports look like. We show the exact measurement of resistance for each receptor.
From our experience, there are many cases with no readings for the entire WTG blade. In such cases, we can do troubleshooting to locate the cause of the problem within the LPS.
The first type of troubleshooting is to measure from the tip of the WTG blade to each receptor: we put one end of the Megger probe on the tip of the blade (the equipment we use we call a "sock") whereas the other end of the probe the robot will bring to each receptor. There is a special kind of a "sock" for metallic blade tips as well as for blade tips with a receptor. In both cases, we can measure from tip to each of the receptors.
The other type of troubleshooting is to do the measurements from the WTG blade root to each receptor. We find that in most cases, the problem is somewhere between the last receptor and the root of the blade. The most common situation would be a broken wire or some issue within the lighting register box.
For the kind of cases where creepage problems, broken wires, or gaps exist, which usually form over time due to changes in temperature, different material expansion coefficients, mechanical damage, oxidation, or other reasons, here at Aerones, we have developed special equipment to test continuity within the LPS where classical measuring methods do not work: normally, low resistance Ohm-meters, with the measurement range up to 2 kΩ, are used. If there's a spark gap in the LPS, the resistance can go above a 100 kΩ (and even MΩ) range.
The High Voltage Gap Tester generates shots of high voltage pulses to overcome the dielectric strength of the material between the conductors. This way we have the opportunity to adjust the output voltage by changing the distance between etalon electrodes, and by doing so we can determine how big the gap is within the LPS.
Here is an example, how we measure how big the gap is within the LPS.
We create the spark, which will always travel through the shortest gap. If, for example, in the WTG blade the gap between two wires of the conductor will be 1 cm and in our test equipment 2 cm, the spark will jump through the wire in the blade.
If the gap in the blade is, for example, 2 cm and on the ground 1.9 cm, the spark will jump through the gap into the ground.
By performing this kind of test, it is not possible to damage anything within the WTG. For comparison: the voltage level for lightning strikes varies within the range of 10 to 120 MV. We use pulses of 100 kV: hundreds of times smaller than the lightning strike.
Throughout this season, we have done the Lightning Protection System (LPS) inspections already for more than 5,000 receptors and set a pace of conducting LPS inspections for 3 to 4 wind turbines per day using only one Aerones service unit. This is an unprecedented speed of LPS inspections for the industry.
Automation in WTG leading-edge repair is now a reality. Aerones is taking a step-by-step market approach with the introduction of robotic LE repair services. This low wind season Aerones are teaming up with rope access technicians to conduct LE repair campaigns.
With the Aerones robotic system's LE preparation tools, we are able to do the heavy lifting of the LE sanding and decontamination, boosting the Rope Access Technician (RAT) team’s productivity by 30-40%. This allows the RAT team to focus only on filler application and final painting.
Aerones in consultation with the world's leading OEMs and blade repair service providers are now developing a fully automated LE repair solution and it will be made available in the soon future.
We are happy to announce that Aerones technology for wind turbine services is recognized
by the biggest wind turbine OEMs in the world.
For the last month we are conducting a pilot project together with Vestas for
the Lightning Protection System (LPS) tests using the Aerones Robotic Technology.
Our team is able to demonstrate unprecedented speed for LPS tests by servicing
on average 3 turbines per day using only one Aerones unit. In addition to fast-paced
services, we are able to provide the safest solution on the market – using
our robotic technology there is no need for technicians to hang in the ropes
on the blade - the robot is doing it instead.
Currently, our units are operating in Europe and USA. If you are interested in scheduling demonstrations or LPS tests, feel
free to call
+371 2809 0999
or write to
The whole inspection is done in under 2 hours, including the set up and de-rigging.
We have achieved another great milestone in our technology advancement – an automated solution for Leading Edge Repair. We successfully conducted the first LE repair on-site using the Aerones robotic technology. Here is a video of how we repair the Leading Edge in less than 2 hours: https://youtu.be/M9KUZptq2SM
The automated LE repair consists of 5 steps:
Scan the blade before the repair and generate a 3D model of the blade in 12 μm (micrometer) precision to assess the blade condition and adjust the tools.
Grinding and sanding
Remove the damaged/eroded layer to allow for application of a new layer of filler.
Clean up the blade and prepare it for filler application to provide maximal durability of the material applied later.
Filler application and profiling
Apply an exact amount of the filler material on the blade and profile it in a high-precision.
Scan the blade after the repair to validate the result and guarantee the highest quality.
Changing the robotic arms
After each of the steps it is necessary to change the robotic arms. Each of the robotic arms perform different task
5min x 4
Time necessary to perform the whole process for one blade
1.5h - 2h
Besides LE Repair, the Aerones robotic blade care systems can perform:
Despite the current challenging situation around the world, Aerones crew keeps on working on wind turbine maintenance service projects in the USA and Europe while taking precautions and maintaining social distancing. It is a challenging time we all face, but thanks to unique Aerones technology characteristics, it is possible to continue the wind turbine maintenance services.
As for the latest project, we conducted a Lightning Protection System (LPS) conductivity test for 100 turbines in Texas, USA (See a video: https://bit.ly/2WUxJAc). In a team of two Aerones technicians and one Aerones service unit, on average we inspected ~3-4 WTGs a day, which is an unprecedented speed for such services in the industry. In terms of wind turbine downtime, this means only ~2h of downtime per turbine, including the set-up of the system.
Besides of conductivity test, Aerones also provide other automated wind turbine services using our robotized technology. The available services include:
Please receive an overview of the LPS conductivity test services HERE:
There you will find a video of how the process is conducted using Aerones robotic technology.
Aerones has started operating in the USA, Texas, where we are performing wind turbine lightning protection system conductivity tests using our automatized robotic system for turbines being at risk of possible lightning strikes. A short video of how are we doing can be seen here: Aerones In Texas.
So far we have done conductivity tests on dozens of turbines and our experience shows that most of the turbines are exposed to a significant risk of lightning strikes, as the lightning protection conductivity system is damaged or not working properly. An issued lightning protection system can lead to a total breakdown of the generators and blades, leading to unexpected costs of even more than $300,000. To be on the safe side and avoid such damages, contact us and order fast (3h per turbine), efficient and robotized services for your wind turbine lightning protection system test.
Besides of lightning protection system test, Aerones robotic system can provide the following services:
The technology offers efficient and unmanned operations with uncompromising health and safety concerns in mind. The whole Aerones robotic system can be assembled and disassembled in an hour, thus significantly minimizing the wind turbine downtime. Please see more in our brochure:
We have developed a new solution for automated Leading Edge preparation for the following repair or protective shell application. More efficient and much faster service than it was available until now!
We're committed to finding innovative ways to improve wind turbine maintenance. To increase labor safety and reduce costs and time spent, Aerones invented the world's first WTG maintenance robotic system. The technology offer efficient and unmanned operations with uncompromised health and safety concerns in mind. The whole Aerones robotic system can be assembled and disassembled in an hour, thus significantly minimizing the wind turbine downtime.
Using Aerones robotic system, you get everything from a single source:
Aerones were contracted to perform Vestas V80 wind turbine blade grease and accumulated dust removal using automated rope robotic system. Additionally, all lightning receptor conductivity tests were conducted to ascertain the lightning protection system proper functioning. Several malfunctioning receptors were found and reported to the client for remedial works.
To ascertain cleaning quality control, all of the turbine blades were photographed before and after the cleaning took place.
It took Aerones team 18 hours to complete the full cleaning process, close visual inspection and LPS tests (10 receptors per blade). All of the inspection findings were reported to the client. Data stored on Aerones secure servers for convenient access. PDF format reports were also made available to the client.