The development of a robot - the final stage

Enabling smarter, safer, and greener inspection and maintenance of wind turbines

Approximately 10 months of design development is drawing to a close. Together with BladeBUG, a robotics company in the UK, EGGS design are completing the final stage of an EU-funded project from the RIMA Network to further develop their advanced maintenance and inspection robot for the wind turbine industry.

BladeBUG have recently returned from Global Offshore Wind conference in Manchester, UK, where they displayed the updated robot with its recently assembled casing for the first time. As we prepare for the first technical tests and user feedback, we’d like to reflect on this final phase of the project.

From concept to fully constructed robot

Like most of this project, the collaboration and development has been remote, with EGGS’ team split between Denmark and Norway, and BladeBUG based in London in the UK. This last stage of development has taken the design from a conceptual direction to a detailed development of a fully-constructed casing. The preparation of a final manufactured prototype has involved hours of meticulous CAD development, regular online-syncs, and the physical prototyping of critical pieces. This thorough process has made the reveal of the fully-constructed robot all the more rewarding.

The RIMA project has had three distinct stages – from research, concept, and finally construction and testing. It has developed the robot from its skeletal shell to a robust-looking, professional casing.

A robust appearance – and performance

BladeBUG’s new aesthetics provides a sense of confidence that the robot is robust enough to manage the handling and environment of a wind turbine – on and offshore. An external casing now covers all the previously exposed electronics, and sensitive moving parts are now nestled behind panels, so that there is a reduced risk of ingress from dust, water, oil, and salt.Moreover, the task of handling or manoeuvring the robot around is easier. The sturdy handles on the top and sides allow for more flexible movement when carrying or moving the robot around. Overall, the robot feels more rugged and able to withstand tough treatment during transport, deployment, and operation up on the nacelle and blade of a turbine.

Improved internal architecture

The external design decisions have also impacted the architecture of the robot, making adaptations and improvements on a larger scale than just aesthetic and superficial. The leg structure and enclosing of electronics have been redeveloped as part of the casing design, and an internal enclosure has been added that protects the main electronics from any water or dust. Fixtures and updated placements have also greatly improved ease-of-use; particularly when removing and inserting elements, such as the lithium-power pack.

The next step – final test

The next steps will be to test the new version of the robot on a vertical test rig, where it will walk along a test blade. There will also be an opportunity for some usability tests with target users, which will gather feedback on the overall ease-of-use and bring the project full-circle to validate our findings from the first stage and the user journey mapping. Watch this space!

Sounds interesting?

Kate Saunders

Let's talk to Senior Digital Designer
Kate Saunders
+45 617 06 500
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