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Bringing Industrial Automation to Wind Farms

helicalAbout three years ago, while I [Bruce] was sharing a drink with some friends, the evening’s conversation turned to wind turbines. One of the gentlemen at the table was managing a blade refurbishment project in Iowa, USA, that was behind schedule and over budget. His problem was related to the removal and re-installation of the blades. The project was constantly being held up by weather conditions unsuitable for crane operations, and the additional time delays and crane costs were threatening his project. Having experience with industrial robotics and composites, I asked him if it was possible to paint the blades in place and eliminate the crane entirely. ‘You’re nuts, that would never work!’ was his reply, and the next morning Helical Robotics was born. The following story outlines the solutions we have created to fix this sort of problem, and the machines that make it possible.

By Bruce Schlee and Derek Berquist, Helical Robotics, USA

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