Wind

Revolutionising the renewable sector, one drone-based inspection at a time…. 

Vantage UAV began in 2017 specializing in the renewables industry; having grown and learnt alongside the sector, the company are well acquainted with its challenges and well-equipped with solutions. 

Vantage drone-based turbine inspection services detect damages and defects, deliver high-quality, actionable data and decrease risk, cost, environmental damage, and downtime – whatever the size of your portfolio. 

Combining innovative UAV technology with end-to-end solutions and support from a team with extensive industry experience, Vantage UAV equip and inform clients, making it easy to monitor, maintain and prolong assets. 

Our Services

Vantage UAV’s drone-based optical and thermal inspection services perform thorough and accurate surveys on onshore and offshore assets, detecting defects and damages and collecting high-quality data.

Optical blade Inspection 

  • High resolution imaging
  • Quickly and easily identifies external defects for maintenance & repair
  • Further asset inspection capabilities (nacelle & towers)
  • Repeatable inspection patterns
  • Drone agility enables full access and thorough analysis of assets

 

Thermal Blade Inspection 

  • Identifies sub-surface anomalies which infer initially invisible, potential damages
  • Detection of sub-surface defects enabling predictive maintenance to be undertaken, preventing further, costly damage developing
  • Capable of detecting: delamination/bad bonding, lightning damage, kissing bonding issues and water ingress
  • Ongoing monitoring and measurement of defects & repairs over time, allowing swift pre-emptive maintenance
  • Accurate volume de-bonded analysis (% de-bonded calculations)
  • Image stitching
  • Access to blade, thermographic and composite experts
  • Full visual spectrum- RGB/Optical

Sky to Cloud Data Reporting 

High-quality data collected during inspections is relayed in clear, annotated reports, digitally formatted to be accessed conveniently from a desk, providing actionable information to clients so that assets can be managed easily and efficiently. Our data storage and reporting solutions offer:  

  • Cloud based platform 
  • Reporting portal which allows stakeholders to review and report upon vast data stores, quickly and easily.  
  • Defects and damages are easily annotated and assigned severity ratings, enabling swift remedial action to be taken according to priority. 
  • Reports have multiple user access and multiple export formats.  
  • In-house data storage, archiving and analytics capabilities.  

Full, turn-key solutions and support

Vantage UAV deliver turnkey solutions from full project management, flight planning, piloting, offering comprehensive support from initial consultation to final report. Our range of services and industry experts allow us to craft bespoke solutions to asset management and data provision challenges. 

Vantage UAV collaborate closely with clients to understand their challenges, workflow, aims and provide the best solutions. Support is always available, from real people, whenever you need it.  

DECREASING cost, time, risk, environmental damage. Why Choose Vantage?  

The renewable sector has grown exponentially; as of 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy reported that 42% of new US electricity generation capacity came from on-land wind energy- surpassing all other sources! (CNBC 1) In 2020 the DOE found that wind energy had the capacity to provide over half of in-state electricity generation in multiple states. (CNBC 1) 

However, a growing renewable capacity has brought growing infrastructural and maintenance challenges. The wind sector is innovative in its use of technology to harness natural power sources, yet failure to extend this progressive approach to maintenance and inspection could limit the potential of the renewable agenda and its assets.  

Faster, safer, and more efficient than traditional inspection methods, Vantage drone-based inspections can revolutionize the renewable industry and offer solutions to its challenges. To find out more, see below! 

Uses & Benefits

Cost

How our solutions reduce your operating cost in the short and long term.

Challenge

Operation and maintenance costs can amount to 10-20% of the net cost of energy for a wind project (2) and for offshore windfarms, 25-30% of the lifetime cost of a project (3).  

However, a lack of preventative maintenance can lead to high-cost repairs later down the line or turbine failure, which can cost up to $30,000 per turbine, per year- not including the cost of downtime. (Wood Mackenzie 4)  

Whilst inspections are key to identifying defects and maintenance needs, manual methods are expensive, requiring multiple technicians, access equipment and insurance costs. Furthermore, manual inspections often fail to detect sub-surface damage or minute faults, meaning remedial action cannot be taken to prevent them escalating.  

Solution

Studies have found that replacing manual inspections with remotely piloted drones could reduce inspection costs by up to 70% and revenue lost due to downtime during inspection up to 90%! (5) 

Vantage drone-based inspections immediately reduce costs by removing the need to hire multiple technicians, obtain costly working at height insurance, access equipment and cutting lengthy inspection times. Long-term, thermal and optical drone inspections reliably detect external and sub-surface damages, enabling pre-emptive maintenance to be carried out before they become large scale repairs incurring cost and downtime.   

Time

Increase the efficiency of your wind farm 

Challenge

Manual inspection is a lengthy process involving considerable downtime with each inspection taking 3-6 hours, per turbine. Turbines are non-operational whilst technicians access heights and harsh environments, visually inspecting the structure, and record data by hand.  

Manual inspections are often unable to detect sub-surface damages and recommend preventative maintenance. Consequently, issues can escalate, costing more time and money. For instance, research suggests that unplanned turbine failure can cost up to 7 days of lost production (Wood Mackenzie 3)- a week of operational yield.  

Solution

Vantage drone-based inspections take as little as 40 minutes, per turbine, which means more inspections are possible in less time- dramatically reducing downtime relative to traditional methods. Thorough and accurate assessment and data provision enables prompt execution of preventative maintenance.   

Vantage solutions are scalable, with the potential to conduct multiple inspections simultaneously via drone fleets, further reducing time, cost, and increasing the efficiency of the inspection process and asset management. 

Data quality and collection

Improve data quality 

Challenge

Mining remains one of the most hazardous occupations; sites are complex, fast-moving, and potentially dangerous. It is impractical to expect ground workers to manage and monitor such vast, dynamic sites sufficiently to prevent accidents or disruption. 

Manually monitoring stockpiles, such as ore deposits, is a particularly hazardous and labor-intensive process, requiring workers to scale dangerous terrain with heavy equipment to collect data. Reliably safeguarding equipment and stockpiles and detecting and reporting suspect activity manually is also challenging, given the scale of many sites.

Solution

Vantage Optical/Thermal Blade inspections offer accurate, rapid identification of both external defects and initially invisible sub-surface defects, enabling repairs or pre-emptive maintenance to prevent damage worsening, causing high costs or failure. Drone inspections enable full access and analysis of assets and data storage provides ongoing measurement and monitoring of pre-existing and potential issues. 

Safe and Secure 

Safety is our priority 

Challenge

Wind turbines are designed to exist in hard to reach, harsh environments, such as hills, mountains or offshore, to harness extreme weather for energy production. This poses a risk to personnel accessing turbines and climbing onto them to conduct inspections.  

Solution

Vantage drone-based turbine inspections remove unnecessary risk to technicians, using unmanned UAV aircrafts capable of accessing and withstanding inhospitable environments and gathering high-quality data on assets.  

Drones do not replace workers; technicians are needed to perform key maintenance works, but drone-based inspections ensure personnel access is targeted and necessary. Keep workers safely on the ground- leave us to do the flying around! 

Environment

Keep your operation green

Challenge

Traditional methods of inspection require the use of helicopters, cranes, access vehicles and additional assets like scaffolding, which use fuel and produce waste. The increased downtime associated with the manual inspection process also negatively impacts renewable yield. 

The inability of manual inspection methods to reliably detect sub-surface or minute damage before it worsens indirectly impacts the environment as old, damaged turbine blades often end up in landfill. Wind Europe estimates that by 2025, around 25,000 tons of blades a year will be decommissioned in Europe, rising to 52,000 tons a year by 2030. (WindEurope 6)  

Solution

As of today, there is 743 GW of wind power capacity worldwide, helping to avoid over 1.1 billion tonnes of CO2 worldwide. (GWEC 7). In the US alone, wind capacity in 2019 avoided an estimated 198 million metric tons of CO2 emissions (ACP 8). The renewable industry holds incredible potential for the environment and future of the planet- but this depends upon the operational efficiency of turbines. 

Vantage drone-based inspections reliably detect damage before it escalates, enabling action to be taken to extend turbine longevity and yield. Drones offer a low carbon intensive method of inspection whilst reducing downtime and ensuring operational integrity, keeping turbines turning, out of landfill, reducing carbon emissions and optimizing the renewable agenda!

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