Technical Inspections in Wind Energy


Preventive drone inspections of wind turbines detect faults quickly and safely.

Drone technology enables the detection of structural incidents in wind turbine blades and serves as a guide for their correct maintenance, saving considerable costs and increasing safety. Drones help us to meet the objectives of extending the service life of installations and increasing the efficiency of wind turbines around the world.

Previously, turbine inspections were performed from the ground using a simple camera for visual inspections, or by accessing vertical work that was risky for the operators. Solutions are now being sought to minimize downtime and mitigate safety risks. The use of drones avoids the need for human access to the wind turbine platform, some 80 m above the ground. All of this maximizes efficiency during wind farm maintenance inspections, reducing downtime and achieving a much higher level of detail than traditional inspection methods.

Advantages and Benefits of the use of Drones in Wind Farms:

Inspection and maintenance of wind farms using drones provides three key advantages:

  • Cost savings.
  • Reduction of occupational accidents, by preventing workers from having to climb the installations themselves to carry out inspection tasks at heights.
  • Continuous service improvement, resulting from increased equipment reliability and the possibility of more frequent inspections.

Technical Inspections
with drones in Wind Farm Wind Turbines

Drone inspections of wind turbines reduce downtime and show images where workers at height cannot reach.

The ultimate purpose of the inspections is to assess the condition of the wind turbines and the adequacy of the maintenance work performed.

Depending on when they are performed and the result to be obtained, we can classify inspections into four types:

  • General condition assessment.
  • Contractual follow-up and identification of faults for possible warranty claims.
  • Life extension; it is intended to verify that the condition of the machines is adequate for safe operation until the next inspection date.
  • Of the general condition of the wind turbines: the interest is to check that the maintainer is doing his job efficiently and with the appropriate quality.

In an inspection, we must determine the condition of the equipment or components determined if it requires corrective intervention or not, the scope of the repair, the period in which it should be performed or the date of the next inspection if corrective action is not required.

This maintenance strategy usually occurs in large components and especially in blade maintenance where periodic preventive maintenance is not performed.

Technical Inspections with drones in wind farms. Preventive maintenance of wind turbine blades.Technical Inspections with drones with thermal camera in wind farms. Preventive maintenance of wind turbine blades.

Detailed drone inspection of the exterior of a wind turbine nacelle, wind vane and anemometer.

Defects detected with the drone camera zoom between the hub and one of the wind turbine blades.

Technical inspection of the wind turbine support or tower, observing possible cracks or fissures in its structure.

Image taken during an inspection performed by an RPA to look for flaws or cracks in a wind turbine and thus extend the useful life of the wind farm.

Technical inspection performed by a drone of the windmill blades. This inspection is performed with both an RGB camera and a thermal camera.

Drone inspection of the front and side of the bushing, reducing the cost of an operator climbing into the gondola.