Home > The wind turbine blade repair technology: Answers to 5 frequently asked questions

The wind turbine blade repair technology: Answers to 5 frequently asked questions

Instead of changing an entirely new set of propellers, blade repair of the wind is considered a complete and cost-effective solution for wind farms. If you are learning about this method for the first time, our following article will answer 5 frequently asked questions about wind turbine repair.

Blade repair at VIVABLAST – The optimal solution to improve and prolong the efficiency of wind turbine

Wind power is one of the leading green energy production industries today. Giant blowers operate around the clock providing ecologically sustainable electricity. Despite being so massive, these buildings still cannot resist the strong effects of nature forever. Therefore, the inspection, maintenance, and repair of wind turbine blades are necessary.

1. What material is the blade made of, and how often do we need blade repair for the wind turbine?

Many people still think that large-sized wind turbines are made of metal, and in reality, they are not so. Whether the turbine body and gearbox are made of metal or alloy, the propeller comprises a composite material, including fiberglass cloth and carbon cloth soaked in a liquid resin solution. This material has light and durable properties with low density, providing good pressure resistance when operating continuously at high speed. This material also helps the blades have low rotational inertia, thereby better responding to constantly changing wind speeds.

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On average, the wind turbine can operate for 10-15 years, and it will need to be replaced entirely. However, the exact number depends on factors from the external environment and the quality of manufacturing, operations volume, and other factors. Timely inspection and blade repair are measures to help prolong the life of the blades as long as possible.

2. The blade repair is often applied to overcome the influence of which factors?

For this question, we would like to briefly introduce 5 common problems in wind turbines:

  1. Leading-edge erosion

Edge erosion is the most common and most talked about problems, which can significantly affect the efficiency of the wind vane, followed by the generated energy capacity. Initially, turbines were often manufactured without safeguards, and they started to erode. But recently, many anti-corrosion measures have been taken to minimize this severe situation.

  1. Fan blades are peeling, separating layers

Structural damage, impeller stress, or manufacturing defects lead to delamination. This is a phenomenon where the propeller’s surface is laminated and bent by 2 to 5 meters at the ends. Delamination of the glue lines can also cause cracks, most commonly at the back edge. This can affect variables such as the durability and stability of the blower blades.

  1. Lightning strikes

One of the most damaging factors for propellers is lightning. This is more likely to happen in remote areas and unstable environments. Lightning strikes affect the structure of the propeller, resulting in costly and time-consuming wind turbine blade repair.

  1. Broken accessories

Some blade attachments on propellers can degrade or peel off over time. This can happen due to poor assembly, design defects from the factory, or external pressure.

  1. Broken propeller

Blade damage can range from minor deterioration such as cracks to more significant problems affecting the blade’s surface. Cracks can occur due to various factors, such as high temperatures or extreme weather conditions. However, they can be detected and easily repaired in time if checked periodically.

3. Why is it necessary to periodically check and make the blade repair timely? How often should one check?

In fact, wind farm owners can’t wait until the propeller has a problem before looking for a repair service. Because at this time, the wind turbine has had certain damage and cannot continue to work well, leading to costly repairs. At the same time, the owner may have to temporarily shutdown for the blade repair, causing production loss.

Meanwhile, periodic inspection costs less and, importantly, helps us detect potential problems early on in wind turbine components in general and wind turbine blades in particular. So how often should one check? We should check weekly or every 2 weeks to ensure timely detection of even minor propeller damage.

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4. The blade repair, replacement, and recycling: What measures should be taken when the propeller malfunctions?

If other parts are easy to replace when damaged, the blades are not so simple. Because their size is too large and very expensive, the replacement process is not the optimal solution.

So what about recycling? This is another dilemma. As mentioned above, the propeller is made from composite material with high durability and efficient operation. However, they are difficult to recycle to create other products. While waiting for recycling technologies to be popularized, we should still minimize the replacement of wind turbine blades.

Therefore, blade repair is still the top priority. Depending on the problem, the units will have different repair measures. Some ways to fix the damage to the wind turbine can be mentioned as follows:

  • Fill: This remedy for small surface cracks or delamination by filling them with special resins, fillers, or gels.
  • Use coatings, cuffs, or shields: These measures are used for impeller rim corrosion problems.
  • Plug/patch and repair for serious damage: This repair involves excavating the damaged area in a straight, stepped, or tapered hole and then using a filler material to fill the hole.

5. What are blade repair solutions that VIVABLAST provides?

With nearly 3 decades of experience in the maintenance field of various works, VIVABLAST is a reliable company in blade repair and wind power maintenance. We are currently providing the following services:

  1. Wind turbine repair – check/appraisal of wind turbine blades, wind tower

VIVABLAST’s propeller blades are inspected using imaging and ultrasonic testing technology, and drone inspection is performed by qualified technicians with IRATA certifications. Our projects are strictly tested by a 3rd party to ensure the quality of the works according to OEM standards.

  1. Anti-corrosion for wind tower, wind vane, restoration, cleaning, and tower foot welding

VIVABLAST’s service will include MBX surface preparation for propellers and towers, impeller repainting, and anti-corrosion coating for towers.

  1. Provide accessible manpower for propeller repair

This is how to call the direct inspection method undertaken by the technician, including:

  • Approach by climbing rope;
  • Access by working platform.

Both methods are performed by IRATA and GWO, GWA certified technicians.

  1. Upgrade pack – Propeller upgrade pack

VIVABLAST is proud to be Anakata’s partner in installing and constructing the propeller interior upgrade package for the wind power market in Vietnam. The team from VIVABLAST is trained by experts from Anakata, ensuring quick and correct operation. Services are performed on-site by rope access or platforms one. To know more about the wind power services that VIVABLAST provides, you could contact us via:

  • Tel: (+84-28)38 965 006/7/8
  • Fax: (+84-28)38 965 004
  • Email: vivablast@vivablast.com

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