Wind turbine manufacturer Nordex is intending to draw on the experience of a global aviation expert experienced in research, development and automation which itself uses drone-assisted inspections in the construction industry or for aircraft. The deal offers additional possibilities for continuously monitoring the status of rotor blades using the very latest technology.
One important area of application for drone technology is the close-up inspection of rotor blades without the need for rope teams. Rotor blades have to be inspected regularly as they are exposed to the wind, weather and considerable strains and in this way might develop wear from erosion. With the aid of the services offered by LAS the Nordex Group can develop and implement timely and specific service and repair instructions. Furthermore, by collecting a large amount of data the manufacturer can monitor the ageing of the turbines and find out for each specific type at which intervals a rotor blade has to be inspected or serviced with a view to preventive maintenance.
“Lufthansa Aerial Services is an ideal partner for the Nordex Group: LAS is able to draw on the many years of experience of the Lufthansa Group in aviation, especially in the maintenance of complex systems” said Bo Moerup, Head of Global Service of the Nordex Group. “It therefore has the expertise for us that is indispensable for professional collaboration. On the basis of the large quantity of very precise data that LAS will provide us with on the regular inspection flights we will be able to make detailed analyses as well as optimise our turbines and our service. This will bring us even closer to our target of a lower cost of energy.”
Dr. Andreas Jahnke, Managing Director of Lufthansa Consulting GmbH added that the market potential for commercial drone use in the wind sector is growing rapidly. Lufthansa’s partnership with Nordex means that the company can develop innovative solutions that meet the requirements of the wind industry in the best possible way. Apart from the close-up inspection of rotor blades, monitoring the progress of the construction of new wind farms is another area of application.
Lufthansa Group and belongs to Lufthansa Consulting GmbH. It offers the commercial operation of drones and related data management for the inspection, measurement and monitoring of infrastructures. Wind energy is one of the industrial sectors on which LAS focuses.
Nordex Group has installed more than 20 GW of wind energy capacity in over 25 markets. In 2015 Nordex and Acciona Windpower generated combined revenues of 3.4 billion euros. The company currently employs a workforce of more than 5,000. The joint manufacturing capacity includes factories in Germany, Spain, Brazil, the United States and in the near future India. The product portfolio is focused on onshore turbines in the 1.5 to 3.6 MW class, which are tailor-made for the market requirements in developed and emerging markets.