Sulzer & Schmid Laboratories AG, a Swiss company pioneering next-generation technology for the inspection of wind-turbine rotor blades, has launched a new highly competitive inspection platform. The company’s new 3DX HD product has been developed as a cost-effective solution to cope with large volumes of high-definition blade inspections.
Based on the compact and flexible DJI M-210 drone, Sulzer Schmid’s latest innovation delivers high performance and fully autonomous drone inspections at a significantly lower cost compared to its existing 3DXTM Ultra-HD product based on the DJI’s M-600 drone. Thanks to the new capabilities offered by unmanned aerial vehicles, the market for drone-based rotor blade inspections has boomed in recent years.
“Our technology produces high-definition image quality that is superior to any other inspection method,” explained Tom Sulzer, co-founder of Sulzer Schmid. “Our drone inspections offer a myriad of benefits: they are automated and, therefore, immune to human error, repeatable and consistent in quality while covering 100% of the blade. Most importantly, the fully digital end-to-end process creates a foundation for trend analysis and predictive maintenance.”
Depending on the type of inspections and their requirements, turbine OEMs, wind asset owners, and O&M service providers will be able to choose the technology that best suits their needs. Whereas critical inspections — such as end-of-warranty or change of ownership — call for the superior images provided by the 3DXTM Ultra-HD product, regular inspections can now be carried out efficiently by the 3DXTM HD platform at a fraction of the cost, according to the company.
The new 3DX HD product combines increased inspection capacity with improved ease of deployment. It offers all the key benefits of autonomous inspection flights, while improving inspection efficiency, handling and deployment during field operations. It is compact enough to be checked-in as regular luggage for air travel and can be deployed easily on CTV ships for Offshore Wind inspections.
“We always push the envelope by increasing automation in all steps of the inspection workflow and by increasing the robustness of our products,” said Christof Schmid, also a co-founder of the company. “We also continue to expand our product range and we expect to launch our new offshore inspection solution later this year.”