Deutsche WindGuard Inspection GmbH has expanded its technical inspection portfolio for onshore and offshore wind turbine generators (WTGs) to include drone-based inspection.

In addition to visual inspections using drones with high-performance zoom cameras, the inspection unit from Varel, Germany, also offers its customers contactlesst lightning protection measurements. They are made using innovative technology from TOPseven GmbH & Co. KG of Starnberg, Germany.

The procedure, which has been approved by TÜV SÜD, complies with the German Wind Energy Association’s (BWE) technical guidelines for testing lightning protection systems and is recognized by GothaerAllgemeine Versicherung AG.

After instruction by TOPseven, thorough training and the first successful inspection tasks, Deutsche WindGuard’s inspection team is now well versed in drone operation and measurement technology. The control software, which relies on artificial intelligence, first calculates an accurate flight path, along which the drone then flies autonomously along the WTG to take the necessary measurements.

“Thanks to the simple and quick conversion of the drone, we can offer lightning protection measurement and visual inspection in just one appointment”, says Jan Wallasch, Managing Director of Deutsche Windguard Inspection, “In addition to the cost savings, the fact that the WTG only has to be turned off once is the biggest advantage for our customers.”

For visual inspection and evaluation, Deutsche WindGuard offers two alternative options: Autonomous patrol provides complete external 3D views of all inspected WTG components after the high-resolution images have been processed by TOPseven. Thanks to the more time-saving manual flight, Deutsche WindGuard inspectors may flexibly and directly on site respond and take a close look at the damage they discover.

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