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Two-shift offshore inspections in the North Sea

Wednesday, 17 June 2020 12:38

With the offshore season in full swing, several Certion teams are operating actively in the North Sea. This is a report of rotor-blade inspections out at sea.

Windpark operator Eneco Offshore Wind has asked Certion to facilitate rotor blade inspections at the Prinses Amalia Windpark and Windpark Eneco Luchterduinen. These inspections consist of a number of meticulous and time-consuming steps; this may be clear from the fact that, in addition to two Certion teams, an external team of drone specialists has also set off for the North Sea.

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Daily inspection schedule

06:00 - 14:00 hours - Departing from IJmuiden, a three-person Certion team heads for the Prinses Amalia Windpark. After a 23 km boat trip lasting 45 minutes, the inspection of the first wind turbine can begin. The turbine must first be immobilised, after which the rotor blades are correctly positioned.
07:00 - 17:00 hours - Departure of a SkySpecs drone team to undertake rotor blade inspections with a dedicated drone.
14:00 - 22:00 hours - A second Certion shift sets off to re-start the turbines following the rotor blade inspections.

Flexible deployment of Certion teams

Thanks to their expertise with Vestas turbines, Certion already provides added value, but inspections of this kind are also dependent on favourable weather conditions, and because Certion is a Dutch company, we are able to ensure fast and flexible availability of several teams.

Responding to metres-high waves

The trickiest part of such an operation is often the transfer from the moored vessel to the ladder at the bottom of the turbine platform (transition piece). The waves out at sea can easily reach a height of several metres, so planning and timing, combined with training and safety, are key to the operation.

Precise timing of the turbine rotor blades

Once the team have reached the platform, which is at a height of 12 metres above NAP (Normal Amsterdam Level), the technicians access the entry door of the wind turbine. The turbine can normally be immobilised by remote control, but stopping the blade in the desired position is only possible with manual braking. The drone inspection is a fully automated process, which is why the position of the blade needs to be precise. The images are examined and, if necessary, additional images are shot.

70 inspections in 5 working days

Thanks to favourable weather conditions and a highly motivated support team of Certion technicians and drone specialists, we have completed this comprehensive assignment, which entailed seventy inspections within five days. Standstill of the turbines was kept to a minimum, and optimum production of wind energy is once again ensured.

Photo: SkySpecs

offshore inspection Pic SkySpecs

Two-shift offshore inspections in the North Sea