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Wind Turbine PAUT Testing



DenmarkUnited Kingdom

In the dynamic world of wind energy, staying ahead of maintenance challenges is the key to unlocking unparalleled efficiency and reliability.<br /> One of the main component of a wind turbine is the bearing assemblies. Located at the top of the wind turbine tower, its primary function is to facilitate the<br /> rotation of critical components within the nacelle and the rotor assembly.

The bearing assemblies are subject to various mechanical stresses, including cyclic loading and abrasive wear due to wind-induced movements and environmental factors. Mechanical damages, surface cracks and erosion can compromise the integrity of these bearings, leading to reduced performance and potentially catastrophic failures. Therefore, regular inspection and maintenance campaigns are essential to ensure the longevity and reliability of wind turbines.

Traditional inspection methods such as Visual Testing (VT) has limitations when it comes to assessing the internal condition of bearings within the nacelle. This method may not provide comprehensive data on the extent of mechanical damages and erosion, potentially leading to undetected issues that could result in costly repairs or replacements.

Hence, instead of relying on visible signs of damage, or reduced performance, our client, a prominent player within the European energy market, reached out to Bilfinger seeking an inspection approach that would support a more proactive maintenance strategy.


Bilfinger has chosen Phased Array Ultrasonic (PAUT) as the primary inspection method for the detection of the anticipated defects. Components such as bearing assemblies exhibit complex geometries. Their irregular shapes pose challenges for conventional inspection methods due to limited access and curved surfaces.

PAUT can cover these challenging geometries more effectively by adjusting the beam angles to reach recessed, or curved areas. This technology employs an array of small ultrasonic transducers that can be electronically controlled to steer in various directions, enabling inspectors to navigate around obstacle. PAUT produces exceptional resolution and imaging capabilities. The detailed visualization of the internal condition improves the likelihood of detecting internal defects such as small cracks, erosion and subsurface defects.

Added value:

  • Precision & Adaptability: PAUT adaptability to various geometries reduces the likelihood of overlooking critical defects
  • Efficiency & Reduced Downtime: By providing real-time imaging, PAUT minimizes inspection time. This efficiency translates to reduced downtime,
    critical in the realm of wind turbine maintenance
  • Enhanced Detection: PAUT enhances defect detection, particularly for subtle anomalies, ensuring the reliability and longevity of critical components
  • Data Visualisation: The detailed imaging and data provided by PAUT empower inspectors with comprehensive insights, facilitating informed decisionmaking
    about maintenance and repairs
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