How AR can transform the Wind Energy Industry?

Linda Malecaj Article

Nowadays the Wind Energy Industry is boosting industrial competitiveness by attracting many investments. Day by day this sector is constantly growing since wind energy is zero-carbon, produced sustainably and consumes negligible amounts of water. Wind Energy already is a key part of the industrial base that brings direct benefits to economic development. Companies operating in this sector are contributing to the energy transformation while providing energy costs at affordable levels. These companies together with the rapid growth are facing many challenges and at the same time are aiming to reduce them by adopting new and innovative solutions for better service. Augmented Reality as a sophisticated and cost-saving solution is being utilized by the wind energy sector, and consequently, its business applications are expanding and the demand for its utilization is increasing. Given that wind energy is one of the most important sources of renewable energy, in recent years it is growing as a sector, but what is challenging is that wind farm projects are becoming more and more complex and experienced staff is in short supply. 

Let’s have a look at how Augmented Reality is demonstrating improvements in the efficiency of operations and maintenance tasks of this sector.  

One of the main challenges that complicate the implementation of wind farm projects is the lack of planning and communication tools that causes non-transparent and inefficient interaction between all involved actors. Augmented Reality provides Remote Support that enables all involved actors in the wind farm projects to collaborate and work on the same task towards the same goal. Wind farms are often located far from urban areas but Augmented Reality allows thousands of offshore/onshore technicians from different locations to be in direct contact at real-time with specialized experts. They are able to receive the right guidance step by step to successfully perform their tasks at critical moments. 

The machines used to implement wind farm projects are quite complex and the technicians must have sufficient knowledge to succeed in their work. Through Augmented Reality, experts’ instructions help technicians with the necessary knowledge to enable the accomplishment of tasks without distractions or process interruptions that may occur as a result of checking usage manuals. Moreover, what facilitates the work of the site technicians is that Augmented Reality experienced via smart glasses ensures hands-free task performance thus increasing work efficiency. Through AR-Remote Support experts have access to the full view of the site technicians’ environment enabling them with the ability to give accurate instructions. Remote AR collaboration also reduces the costs and time that experts have to spend on site-visits to conduct inspections regarding the performance of site technicians and the degree of success of wind project implementation. 

Another challenge that this sector is facing is the retirement of current experts and the lack of a specialized site workforce. Experts are using Augmented Reality to train the current workforce, which leads to a reduction of costs for expensive and time-consuming training. The utilization of technologies such as Augmented Reality provides various solutions to strengthen the workforce in a labor-intensive production and ensures the site workforce with access to all needed information to complete their work digitally and in real-time. 

Wind energy workers can be exposed to hazards that can result in fatalities and serious injuries during the various phases of a wind farm project. The objective of companies operating in this sector is to provide safe and healthy working conditions in both onshore and offshore locations. Through remote collaboration, experts are able to advise site workers on potential risks and provide them with opportunities to perform their tasks away from dangerous positions.

The activities associated with wind energy – from the design and manufacturing of wind turbine parts, through the transport and installation to maintenance – are being performed more efficiently through Augmented Reality, and at the same time, unexpected challenges that may arise are being eliminated. Augmented Reality offers solutions during the production phase and maintenance operations in remote areas, extreme weather conditions, and confined spaces. Augmented Reality builds a fully digital wind farm monitoring and inspection platform based on remote collaboration to reduce the site visits and to improve the efficiency of work. Applications of Augmented Reality have significant potential to simplify the flow of maintenance work and repair processes on wind farms thus increasing the demand for the adoption of this technology day by day in different sectors.