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Business Ideas

3D printing for on-site repair and re-design of wind turbine components

This idea covers the opportunity to develop 3D printing for repair of faulty components and re-design of wind turbine components. The idea is represented through 3 technological steps, in the end resulting in repairs and updates being carried out without sending personnel offshore. Step 1: 1:1 repairs When components are due for repair or replacement, personnel is sent to the wind turbine; personnel can bring portable 3D printers or 3D printers can be permanently installed at the turbines. The faulty components are either repaired using 3D printing or remanufactured completely. Step 2: In situ re-design The next step after 1:1 repairs, is to widen the concept to also cover updates to components. If a component requires repair but the existing version of the component has been updated or re-designed, then instead of 3D printing a 1:1 version of the faulty component, the updated version of the component is printed instead. If the updated component requires update of other connected components as well, these are also re-printed in their updated version. The result is an in situ technological update of the turbine components. Step 3: 3D printer operation through Augmented Reality (AR) If 3D printers are installed at the wind turbines (e.g. inside the nacelles), this opens up the opportunity for operation through robotics rather than personnel. Robotic installations can be operated away from site. Sensors mounted at the wind turbine gives the operator a high-detail AR image of the target part of the wind turbine where repairs or component updates are needed, and the operator can then operate the 3D printer through AR software.

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