March 28, 2023

Unveiling the Mystery: 5 Little-Known Facts about Inspection and Maintenance of Lightning Protection Systems

1. 20% of turbines have a non-working Lighting Protection System

Regular wind turbine maintenance is essential to ensure the system functions properly. There are several reasons why these systems may fail, including inadequate grounding, poor installation, corrosion, and lack of maintenance. By addressing these issues, wind turbine operators can ensure that their lightning protection systems are functioning properly and their wind turbines are protected from lightning strikes.

According to the data we have gathered, even parks that have just been commissioned already have problems with LPS system functionality. This is due to the fact that the protection system is damaged during the transportation or installation of wind turbines. As the turbines grow bigger in size, these issues become more often.

2. How many wind turbines can be inspected in a single day?

Aerones wind turbine lighting protection system inspection robots can be set up in just 40 minutes and there is no need to de-rig our system when the next blade of the wind turbine needs to be inspected. We just lower our robot below the edge, rotate the turbine and we are again set to do the LPS inspection for the next blade.

Depending on the wind turbine type LPS inspection can be done in less than half an hour for each blade. Aerones can inspect up to six turbines a day. The main factor that increases inspection time is the number of receptors on each blade. More receptors mean more time for LPS inspection.

If LPS check-ups are being done regularly there is a smaller chance to find damages or other abnormalities. If during receptor and wire conductivity tests we find that everything is in order then there is no need for in-depth testing and that saves time significantly.

3. Is it possible to find where the lightning protection system’s down conductor is broken?

Aerones robotic tools allow wind turbine owners to inspect the health of the LPS, detect down conductor damages, and find the exact location for precise and effective repairs. The sophisticated robotic inspection system offers deep insight by measuring the LPS full-loop and by high voltage procedure to identify open circuits or resistance issues.

To determine the exact location of a faulty down conductor wire, Aerones has developed a tool called Down Conductor Gap Scanner, which consists of a transmitter positioned at the blade root area that sends a signal through the LPS wire; and a receiver that scans along the blade surface to receive the signal. If the signal is lost during the scanning, then we can determine the location of a potential faulty or broken-down conductor wire.

4. Restoring a failed lighting system

Aerones has developed a technology that allows us, using our technical solutions, to eliminate oxidation in the connections between the receptors and the main down conductor.

This unique technology avoids expensive blade repairs and, without opening the blade structure, restores a failed lightning protection system.

This service saves a lot of time and avoids the risk of lightning striking a blade with broken lightning protection, which could potentially lead to the destruction of the structural integrity of the turbine blade.

5. How to be in control of your wind turbine assets

Aerones reports their daily on-site activities as well as LPS results daily. With the assistance of advanced software and automation, we are able to eliminate any human error throughout the whole process of inspection! We test our Megger before arrival to each project. Afterward, the results are automatically transferred to the Aerones portal and live data sheet, where asset owners are able to track Aerone’s daily activities and track the inspection results. Furthermore, all data is stored in one place – Aerones Portal, where all of the previous inspection reports and data can be compared, exported, and used for various purposes. Smarter inspection methods require smarter data management!

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