ATAM Tests Robotic Crawler for Blade Inspection at ORE Catapult

Great Yarmouth-based ATAM Group has tested its robotic crawler, developed for the inspection of wind turbine blades, on the full-size turbine training tower and along test blades at ORE Catapult’s facilities in Northumberland, which is offered as part of a GBP 50,000 grant awarded to ATAM from the GBP 6 million SCORE Innovation fund.

The trials enabled the ATAM team to identify any shortcomings on its device, called Inspection Mag.

ATAM managing director Mark Loades said: “Our original plan was to have the robot gripping and travelling along the outside of the blade, but the tests at ORE Catapult ruled that out, so we are switching to a magnetic crawler on the tower, with a high definition camera to look for blade damage, and an arm which extends to touch and test the blade lightning conductors.”

ATAM Group MD Mark Loades sends the Inspection Mag into a turbine blade at ORE Catapult. Image source: TMS Media

Andrew Tipping, commercialisation manager at ORE Catapult, said the full- size wind turbine blade at ground level was “the closest they could get to the real thing.”

“ATAM couldn’t go to a wind farm operator and ask them to shut down a turbine for their research and development, which is why we have our facilities,” Tipping said. “They had a lot of dialogue with our engineering team on the day, spending half a day trialling the crawler and the other half was spent with the team discussing their technology. ATAM has plenty of knowledge in oil and gas but they were able to take away a lot of information about the offshore wind industry’s needs to support their continued technology development.”

Andrew Tipping further added that a blade conference was being held at ORE Catapult on the day ATAM visited, allowing the ATAM team to speak with companies involved in blade inspections and make potential new business links.

ORE Catapult engineer Tony Fong and ATAM Group’s Louis Turrell show a blade conference delegate at ORE Catapult how the Inspection Mag works. Image source: TMS Media
Related news

List of related news articles

Posted: about 1 year ago

Osbit Delivers Subsea Cable Fatigue Test Rig to ORE Catapult

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has taken delivery of a bespoke subsea cable bend fatig...

  • Operations & Maintenance
Posted: about 1 year ago
Posted: about 1 year ago

Siemens Gamesa Reaches Blade Milestone in Hull

Siemens Gamesa has reached a milestone in the production of 75-meter long blades at its factory in H...

  • Business & Finance
Posted: about 1 year ago