In recent years, homes, businesses and schools have become increasingly dependent on the renewable energy power provided by wind turbines. As a result, operators and service providers are faced with meeting the growing demand for energy from renewable sources and maximizing efficiencies to better compete in the marketplace and get every megawatt from their turbines. In order to reduce turbine downtime that can ultimately affect annual energy production (AEP), 3M recently announced an agreement with Camp Six Labs to apply 3M products to wind turbine blades utilizing the soon to be developed Camp Six robotic applicators.
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. Combining innovative technologies with innovations in service, this new offering will also 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 utilize small industrial robots mounted on drones to conduct routine wind 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 percent.1 As robotic application has been trusted by manufacturing lines for decades, the 3M and Camp Six collaboration finally allows wind 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.”
3M Wind Energy | http://www.3m.com/wind
Camp Six Labs | http://www.campsix.com