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Offshore installations need maintenance and spare parts supply. However, their distance from shore can be a logistical challenge. A technician is wasting time if critical tools or critical spare parts aren’t available to him. A new drone-based solution under development will deliver spare parts and tools from vessel to offshore wind turbine.

Siemens Gamesa, Ørsted and ESVAGT are collaborating in the development of the solution which will transport tools and spare parts from ESVAGT’s SOV (Service Operation Vessels) to the technician at the offshore wind turbines by means of drones.

ESVAGT’s vessels are located in the offshore wind farms and have a wide range of spare options on board. Further innovating the transportation of spare parts and tools from vessel to the turbine is the next step.

When a WTG technician is transferred from vessel to WTG, he brings both spare parts and tools with him. But if he needs additional parts, e.g. smaller electrical components or a specific tool, the vessel has to  return with the necessary gear, and this process takes time and resources.

Within the framework of the collaborative project, drones can deliver packages weighing up to 3-4 kg directly to the WTG nacelle.

The drone could transport the spare parts between two variable points, following a route that will be adjusted along the way. It is complex due to the changing weight of the cargo, the wind’s impact, the use of magnetic compass in an offshore farm with lots of steel, and the fact that the nacelles are moving and the blades are constantly rotating. 

The project Operative Package Deliveries by Drones is sponsored by the European Regional Development Fund and runs until June 2020.

Undoubtedly, the technology would have applications in other offshore installations in the civilian and military sectors.

Interested in learning more about other aspects of offshore installations and drones? Attend i-HLS’s InnoTech Expo in Tel Aviv – Israel’s largest innovation, HLS, and cyber technologies expo – on November 18-19, 2020 at Expo Tel Aviv, Pavilion 2.

For details and registration