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AICEP
Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal

CABEÇALHO

Eptune Engineering has developed a series of innovations to improve wind turbine blade access and repair in harsh meteorological conditions.

Wind turbine blades are one of the more costly components to maintain. The inspection and maintenance are commonly made by ropes or via suspended aluminum platforms that allow access to the wind blades. These activities are highly dependent on good weather conditions and are typically performed during summertime. This weather limitation increases maintenance costs, due to standby time and seasonality. Besides this maintenance cost impact, this reality of weather dependence to perform repairs also creates large economic losses in the energy production, since wind towers can be inoperative or with the energy production output reduced for days or weeks, when damages are identified.

 

Eptune Engineering founded in 2018 and, among other projects, intends to change the paradigm of blade maintenance operations, designing innovative solutions that can address this issue.

 

The company’s innovations can be divided in three different categories:

  • Safety: Eptune developed a closed working environment, around a suspended platform creating a barrier to the exterior, with controlled temperature and humidity levels.
  • Security: A sealing system that isolates the segment of the blade bring repaired prevents the contamination of this zone from external particles, being them rain, snow, or dust.
  • Stability: A system that guarantees the stability of the platform during its elevation and descent, preventing unwanted horizontal and lateral movements.

These innovations are the foundation to develop improved solutions for the blade repair market. The solutions developed will not only allow for maintenance procedures to be carried out in adverse climate conditions, but will also permit a more comfortable and safer working environment. Repairs performed from ropes cannot guaranty the same level of quality as the ones performed from suspended platforms, and these innovations will push even further the preference for using suspended platforms as the access norm for blade repairs.

 

All these innovations were developed in a two-year project, known as Easy Platform, that is being developed in conjunction with OnRope and Instituto de Soldadura e Qualidade (ISQ). OnRope is a blade maintenance provider, acting like an end user, giving valuable input about general requirements and the most necessary improvements and faults that are experienced with the equipment existent in the market. ISQ is contributing with know-how in the development of testing, that are being used for the validation of the proposed solutions, a valuable partner in the R&D process of the actual project.

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