3M partners with Camp Six Labs for use of drones for wind-turbine O&M

To reduce wind-turbine downtime that can affect annual energy production (AEP), 3M recently announced an agreement with Camp Six Labs, a provider of drone-based infrastructure maintenance. It will apply 3M products to wind-turbine blades using the soon-to-be developed Camp Six robotic applicators.

Through a collaboration with robotic applicator, Camp Six Lab, 3M aim is to limit and eventually avoid sending wind techs up tower for turbine blade maintenace. Drone use for blade O&M is typically a much safer option.

The strategic collaboration will help wind-turbine owners achieve optimal performance and return on investment through the use of 3M wind products, while simultaneously leveraging the installation efficiencies provided by Camp Six applicators. It also aims to decrease turbine downtime and reduce the potential workplace risk to technicians, ultimately replacing current maintenance solutions, which are expensive and time and labor-intensive.

Camp Six robotic applicators use small industrial robots mounted on drones to conduct routine turbine maintenance. During maintenance or upgrade work, FAA-certified pilots secure a safe flight perimeter and position the blades. After flying into position, multiple specialized robots will conduct repairs and improvements with 3M products.

“3M’s wide range of technologies and products offer improved performance and protection against weathering and harsh environments and are used to build and maintain wind turbines around the world,” said Santhosh Chandrabalan, Global Business Manager, 3M Electrical Markets. “Drone application technology offers an exciting and innovative way to provide O&M services for wind turbines.”

According to recent data, annual energy production decreases at the first sign of blade erosion with annual losses of up to 20%. As robotic application has been trusted by manufacturing lines for decades, the 3M and Camp Six collaboration finally allows turbine owners to get the same benefits in the field, 400 feet from the ground.

Specifically, robotic applicators will be able to apply 3M Wind Protection Tapes, fillers, adhesives, and coatings to ensure owners are able to both repair and protect their turbine blades.

“As the leading innovator of drone-based infrastructure maintenance, it’s important that we collaborate with a brand turbine owners know and trust in the wind industry,” said Clement Gires, Chief Executive Officer, Camp Six Labs. “By working together, these efforts will assist with increased energy production and lower blade repair expenses, without putting workers at risk.”

 

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