BR-8 Wind Turbine Maintenance Robot for a Windy Future
BR-8 Turbine Maintenance Robot to Help Europe Welcome a Safe Wind-Powered Future
images are from roperobotics
With many more wind turbines on their way in Europe, concerns regarding the safety and efficiency of maintenance will become an everyday concern. Luckily, one company is helping to solve that problem with their flagship product, the BR-8.
What is the BR-8 Robot?
The BR-8 Robot is a unique piece of robotic equipment used to perform wind turbine maintenance. It consists of a locomotive body with a modular design that allows it to equip various equipment to carry out wind turbine blade maintenance tasks.
The BR-8 is hoisted up the wind turbine using a powered pulley system. Once it comes in contact with the blade, it can be maneuvered across its service. An electronic, articulated arm operates the equipment used to service the blade.
Wind turbines inevitably pick up damage to the blades, denting, warping, or removing paint from the surface. Most maintenance operations are launched to repair this damage and restore the wind turbine’s aerodynamics.
Here is how the BR-8 achieves its blade servicing tasks:
- Sanding: Sanding prepares the surface by making it rough enough for the paint to adhere to.
- Cleaning: Isopropyl alcohol removes any remaining dust, grease, and water.
- Painting: The BR-8 finishes the process by applying a special coating formula containing filler and paint.
What is the BR-8 Used For?
The main benefit of the BR-8 is that it removes the risk of manned maintenance missions. Today, most wind turbine maintenance is still performed by specially trained rope access technicians that hang from the nacelle of the wind turbine.
Putting people to work on top of wind turbines between 90 - 500 feet high is inherently dangerous. Not only does replacing maintenance staff with the BR-8 eliminate this risk, but it also allows for extended maintenance windows that aren’t as weather dependent.
It can also help operators reduce the cost related to training, safety measures, and the high-risk pay that wind turbine maintenance workers demand.
Who is Rope Robotics?
Rope Robotics is a Danish robotics startup dedicated to designing, innovating, and manufacturing groundbreaking robotics solutions within the wind energy industry. The company was founded on 1 May 2016 by Hans Laurberg and Martin Huus Bjerge - both of whom have over ten years in the wind industry. The company is currently based out of Aarhus with 20 employees.
They are dedicated to delivering turnkey leading-edge repair solutions that make it safe and easy to work at heights. And to improve the quality of service operations and documentation.
In 2021 alone, 17 GW (11 GW in the EU-27) of wind turbine energy capacity was installed throughout Europe. Europe has set ambitious targets for its renewable energy goals by 2030, and wind energy is a key part of that strategy.