HUVR Hero: Katelyn Reynolds

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Posted on July 11

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HUVR Hero: Katelyn Reynolds

“You have to keep pushing innovation”

A HUVR Hero is someone who aids their company or industry by making significant progress in the design, implementation or use of digital inspections. These individuals are champions of digital transformation and the HUVR platform.

Katelyn Reynolds, Senior Manager, Blades, Operations Engineering, Invenergy, almost didn’t become an engineer. “I didn’t think I could do this.” She didn’t think engineering was for her and decided to major in Spanish. However, she was encouraged by a few women in the field, and she gave it a try–a net positive for society in general.

She now leads a diverse team of engineers as Invenergy’s subject-matter expert in blade reliability, and has developed and managed the blade inspection, repair and general maintenance across Invenergy’s fleet. If you want to know how wind power will evolve, Katelyn is one of the people you’d ask.

Katelyn seeks progress in all things, including digital blade inspection technologies or simple presentation: she started color-coding her reports to ensure that visual learners had something interesting to look at to trigger their brains to make connections. Simple, common-sense changes to how things are done are as important as macro-level shifts to the wind industry. “There are a lot of different challenges with different models coming out. We have to learn to operate them well.”

And Katelyn is certainly on top of improving the wind industry. She works with vendors to ensure they are qualified. She has helped develop in-house repair teams. She implements quality-control efforts. She has piloted programs for things like Leading Edge Protection (LEP), ice mitigation and uncrewed internal and external blade inspections. “Improved data collection and analysis has allowed Invenergy to develop a greater understanding of repair expectations and associated costs to better plan for the future.” She continued, “How do we utilize that data in the most efficient way?”

This last item (data collection) is where HUVR and Katelyn connected. When the HUVR module Findings Management was being tested, Katelyn and the engineers at Invenergy were a natural fit as testers. Of the module, Katelyn said, “[It] streamlines the data management process for our engineers who can now better collect data and report quality analysis at a more efficient pace.”

HUVR also helped with their team’s photo catalog. “We have so many photos and we needed a solution for high resolution exchange while maintaining security for internal and external groups. Using the workflow, sharing data with external users is easy with HUVR because we don’t have to use email or compress quality. We have around 900,000 images in the system.” 

Katelyn’s enthusiasm for advancement does not exist for its own sake. “You have to keep pushing innovation, but I like taking a step back sometimes to make sure we’ve got everything covered.” Innovation is important, but getting the job done safely comes first. “The technology itself is changing very rapidly and there is an interdependence between engineers and technicians, all of whom are working to ensure both safety and maximum productivity.” 

The wind industry inspects blades more frequently now than before, and this is the trend for the foreseeable future. “At the moment drones are the most comprehensive way to visually inspect blades, which includes additional work to organize and handle the data. The amount of data is growing and your technology is rapidly changing.”  Katelyn points out that despite these challenges, wind technology maintenance is developing at a nice pace. “We’re learning from the data and utilizing historical information where we can, to ensure we’re making good decisions.”

That being said, she looks to a future where regularly scheduled inspections advance to assessing blade conditions at any time. “I see we’re working in the right direction, but using more real-time alerts is the future. Right now, we use primarily visual inspections, but that can only tell you what’s on the surface.  Different non-destructive testing (NDT) technologies or sensors could help locate defects that are hard to see or below the surface.”

She will probably be on the leading edge of adopting this technology for wind farms. “Blades can be challenging and that means we have to be creative with our solutions. We test many different technologies, and are constantly trying to find the best solution we can to get the information we are looking for.”

Katelyn is a HUVR hero because she’s the complete package: a thought-leader who also has boots-on-the-ground experience going up on platforms to repair blades (so maybe her boots were a bit off the ground). Her responsibility for Invenergy’s fleet tells you that she has the respect of her colleagues and her speaking engagements show she has the respect of the industry.  She will continue to push for innovation and ensure that smart decisions make her fleet (and by extension, the fleets of the world) more efficient and able to provide more clean power to society.

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