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GE uses climbing robots to inspect wind turbine blades

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General Electric has started using robots to climb up wind turbines and inspect their blades.

GE wind turbine robot
GE wind turbine robot

Inspecting the blades on a wind turbine is dangerous and time consuming work, so General Electric came up with a solution — using robots that can climb 300 feet in minutes instead of hours. The robots utilize a vacuum pump that removes the air between the machine and the turbine, creating a vacuum seal that keeps it solidly attached as it climbs. They're controlled remotely and come equipped with a wireless camera so that the operator can check out the turbine's blades while staying safely on the ground. GE has been testing the machines since last year, and is looking at adding another tool to the robot's arsenal to make it even more useful — a microwave scanner to check the structural integrity inside of the blades.