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A robot for maintenance and repair of wind turbines

Aerones showcased "the first robot to offer a complete service for the maintenance and repair of wind turbine blades." The robot reportedly performs maintenance 3-5 times faster than a human and uses tools to perform a variety of tasks, including refurbishing blades with AkzoNobel's RELEST coatings.

The robot is capable of performing maintenance and repair of wind turbine blade leading edge erosion, eliminating erosion in a cost-effective manner and stopping its progression. The robot was presented in Riga, Latvia last week - the first factory demonstration.

The wind turbine maintenance and repair market was valued at $36.27 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow to $63.82 billion by 2029. Maintenance and repair is slow and costly as the operations are done manually by experts with mountain gear - an occupation that is considered potentially dangerous, with an injury rate of 0.64 per 1000.

Danis Cuze, co-founder of Aerones, says: “Global energy demand will double in the next 20-30 years, with the most dramatic growth coming soon. To support the growth of the industry, our goal is to offer a robotic system capable of repairing wind turbine blades at a moment’s notice. when needed.We continue to work on making the robot as resilient as possible to various environmental conditions, so we tested our system in extreme heat, humidity and wind conditions.Our ultimate goal is to create a product that requires them to repair wind turbines will stop only for a short time or not stop at all.

The robot is able to operate in wind conditions up to 15 km/s, while technicians work in conditions up to 9 km/s. Aerones can improve the safety of maintenance technicians, complete repairs faster, reduce downtime and reduce costs in the process.

The modular system of the robot provides the following tasks:
- cleaning the surface of wind turbine blades;
- surface preparation;
- removal of the protective tape from the leading edge;
- applying a primer;
- application of putty on the leading edge;
- application of a protective coating on the leading edge.

The latter feature is the result of a successful collaboration with one of the world's leading manufacturers of wind turbine blade coatings, AkzoNobel. Aerones was one of three winners of the AkzoNobel Paint the Future global startup competition, leading to a successful commercialization of the collaboration.

Aerones has implemented intelligent wind turbine modeling and erosion development modeling using digital twin technology. The system is capable of reproducing a wind turbine in a digital environment for monitoring and simulation for data-driven decision making.

The modular robot shown is Aerones' next generation of robotic wind turbine maintenance solutions. In the future, the company plans to expand the functionality of the robot. The company said its robots are already in use by 30 repair crews in North America, South America, Europe and will soon be heading to Australia.

The startup recently announced a $30 million investment round following a $9 million round in the summer of 2022.

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