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New inspection procedure for rotor blades using thermography and artificial intelligenceThe Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM) and the Marburg-based start-up Latoda have developed a method to increase the energy yield of wind turbines. In the process, the rotor blades are checked for erosion using thermography and artificial intelligence.

The inspection procedure has now been tested in a feasibility study led by BAM. In this process, erosion damage to the rotor blades is made visible through thermographic images taken with an infrared camera. The damaged areas, in turn, are caused by raindrops; they cause turbulence in the airflow on the surface of the rotor blades. The turbulence is visible on thermal images of the rotor blades. By detecting and categorising them, maintenance can be planned and carried out in a more targeted manner. The thermographic inspection of rotor blades, in which a camera system takes pictures from the ground, takes about ten minutes. The thermograms are then analysed with complex image processing and AI algorithms, registering and marking the smallest temperature differences on the surface of the rotor blades.
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