BladesUSA 2022 Takeaways

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Posted on February 28

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BladesUSA 2022 Takeaways

Ben Schmuhl, VP of products, HUVR

HUVR was out in force at BladesUSA 2022 last week; it was great to network with so many experts and see so many great sessions. I wanted to share some of my key takeaways.

Standardization

When compared to more mature industries, the wind business has much less standardization to make sure everyone is speaking the same language. It is agreed that in general this needs to change, as it will lead to better evaluation of blades, and turbines as a whole, which in turn will lead to smarter planning for maintenance and greater AEP (annual energy production). With more universal standards, there can be more confidence in interpretation of inspection data, yielding more confidence in prioritization for maintenance and remediation.

However, with the many different kinds of blades across wind farms and the many variables that affect them, including length, environment, composite materials, and other OEM specifics, etc.,  are important factors in standardization. One piece of speculation is that clusters may be more useful as a baseline than individual turbines. Ultimately, the data must be turned into actionable insights that drive planning, operations and repair: that analysis is something the HUVR IDMP (inspection data management platform) excels at.

Data Sharing

It is agreed in principle that operators, inspectors, maintenance teams and OEMs should be sharing data to benefit the entire industry. However, this is obviously easier said than done, as many of the listed groups are not eager to share proprietary information with those who could be viewed as their competitors.

Moreover, and related to the discussion of standardization above, we must agree as an industry on what information is collected and how it is measured. Even with blades, locking down a 5-level standard is harder than it may seem. Not only standardizing on the levels but what the levels relate to: severity or category of action?  These decisions will affect how data is considered.

Most agree that a third-party, non-commercial organization, coupled with non-OEM-led user groups will yield results similar to those seen in other industrial segments. The ultimate product would be a failure database that would aid in maintenance planning and maximizing AEP.

A common data set would bridge any gaps between R&D and operations. Since the HUVR platform can accept data from any source and create reports with any criteria, we tend to agree.

The Future

Drones and robots, which can perform detailed inspections using any kind of payload needed, are definitely going to be a key part of the future of the wind segment. Beyond the dazzling array and sheer amount of information they collect, drones and other robotics eliminate numerous hazards to human beings.

Looking even further, blades and turbines will focus more on built-in sensors to continue turning the asset into its own sensor. Combined with drones and robotics, most of the process could be automated, leaving humans to focus even more on the higher-order tasks and interpretation. Humans, drones, sensors and digital twins will be working together to influence the entire loop of maintenance: planning, management, data collection, findings and reporting.

Conclusion

HUVR’s IDMP is purpose-built to handle just that kind of continuous loop. We’ll have more BladesUSA content in the coming weeks, including videos, insights from our CEO and experts—and more.  If you’d like to know more about our plans for the future, or how we can help you today, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to talk it through with you.

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