Renewable energy is a rapidly growing market with wind power quickly becoming one of the largest renewable resources in the United States. New wind farms, many with hundreds of turbines, continue to be built. Each wind turbine needs to be carefully inspected and maintained, making fast, reliable inspection solutions a priority. Wind turbine gearbox inspections, a critical part of the maintenance process, require skill and proper technique because gearbox interiors are dark and complex, with highly reflective oily surfaces. These inspections require a remote visual inspection (RVI) tool, such as a borescope, to navigate these and other challenges — not to mention the constraints due to the inspections taking place hundreds of feet in the air and miles from the field office.
Inspecting the gearbox of a wind turbine
Our RVI team has been invited to provide wind turbine gearbox borescope inspection training for a leading clean energy company, and the training sessions are taking place on a regular basis.
For clean energy companies, investing in the skills and knowledge of their inspectors will translate into improvements in quality and the cost-effectiveness of borescope inspections as well as help reduce the risks of lost time and damage.
A defect in a wind turbine bearing capturing using a borescope
As part of the training we offer, experienced Level 1 and 2 technicians undergo two days of borescope training complete with hands-on practice and gearbox familiarization.
Proper borescope training from an experienced team helps ensure that all inspectors correctly use and maintain their remote visual inspection tools and provides a solid foundation for inspectors to develop their borescope and failure analysis skills and techniques. A number of topics are covered, including:
- Understanding borescope optics
- How to select the appropriate borescope for the application
- How to select the best tip adaptor (lens) for the application
- How to use borescope imaging features to achieve the best possible pictures under the constraints presented by wind turbine gearboxes
- Cleaning and maintenance of borescopes in the oily wind turbine gearbox environment
- How to configure and use stereo measurement
- Wind turbine gearboxes overview
- Failure modes and stages
- Hands-on experience of wind turbine gearbox borescope techniques
- Essential videoscope accessories
Arm your inspectors with a solid understanding of the tools they use and the practical experience they need to effectively inspect wind turbine gearboxes.
By Frank Lafleur
Product Manager, RVI
Frank joined Olympus in 2011. Previously, he studied electro-mechanical engineering and spent more than 10 years working in HVAC and electronics manufacturing. Frank currently spends more than 50% of his time traveling the Americas consulting with customers about their RVI needs.