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Kushal Nowbut - Panoblade specialist

Kushal Nowbut in 2019: 20 missions, more than 100 days of fieldwork and 500 wind turbines inspected. He presents in this interview how he uses the Panoblade system and his personal record of 11 wind turbines inspected in one day.

Kushal Nowbut

Hello Kushal, you just came back from one inspection week in the French region of Moselle. You took pictures of 20 wind turbines with Panoblade there. You are not only taking pictures on field, you are also contributing to the data processing and validation. What is for you a “good” inspection?

A good mission is inspections with good weather so that we can acquire good quality images: sharp, with a good resolution, optimal luminosity. And with a scan where we can see the whole blade : no part is missing.

Such good data are easier to process and enable us to deliver reports to the clients quicker. Finally, blade experts and A.I. will be able to do an optimal job and detect any very small anomaly.

We should never forget that expertise quality depends on data quality!

Do you have some advices to a Panoblade user on how to succeed on bringing back quality data from the field?

My first advice is to carefully position the system : under the Hub and at maximum 3 meters from the wind turbine. In such a position it’s way easier to configure the trajectory of the scan and be sure to acquire 100% of the blade.

My second advice is to be very attentive of the luminosity on the images. The Panoblade system proposes an histogram to optimize the luminosity, you have to use it to be sure the image quality is good. Don’t hesitate to change the luminosity of the camera in the middle of a scan by pushing the STOP button. It’s most of the time necessary between a TE scan and a LW scan for example.

The next advice is about the trajectory reference points. We noticed that when you are inspecting a very tall wind turbine, the begining of the scan can be missing if the wind is moving the camera. The second trajectory point must be set where the blade is the largest: in the middle. If you don’t set good trajectory points, some parts of the blade will be missing, the experts won’t be able to see them.

One last advice : when the system starts taking pictures, don’t stay far from the computer, check on the screen that everything is going as planned. We realized that often, some parts of the blade are missing because the technicians on the field were not checking the computer while the camera was taking pictures.

You’ve recently inspected 11 turbines in only one day. Can you tell us how you manage to inspect so many turbines in one day maintaining good quality data?

First, you have to not waste any time on each turbine. You can gain a lot of time by explaining to the turbine technician before the start of the mission what are the turbine manipulations needed. When I’m doing the data acquisition I only have to ask for “Position 1” or “Position 2”! I gain also some time by anticipating the moment when I need the turbine to change position, I ask for the new position when the camera is taking the last pictures since turbine manipulation is not immediate.

You don’t need to unmount the whole Panoblade system between two turbines. You just have to be careful on not damaging it! For example, you can remove the camera and the lens. Put the motorized head fixed on the tripod inside the car to go to the next turbine.

Bonus : remember how the tripod is set on one turbine to set it the same position on the next one. If you do so, it will take very few time to set the trajectory points on the new turbine!

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