BladeBUG unveils new robot thanks to RIMA grant

BladeBUG has revealed its long-awaited new-look concept robot, which for the first time has been covered in an outer shell.


More robust and agile than ever before, the latest BladeBUG robot has a waterproof covering, which protects it from harsh elements when carrying out essential inspection and maintenance of wind turbines. A six-legged crawling robot, the BladeBUG robot inspects and repairs turbine blades by walking on them, a task that currently requires human technicians to be exposed to hazardous conditions.

In development for a year, the latest BladeBUG is undergoing rigorous testing including being hung on a real blade, and testing of its body movement and walking gait. BladeBUG has today released a video, offering the industry its first look at the advanced robot and its capabilities.

Chris Cieslak, Director and Founder at BladeBUG, said: "We are really looking forward to showing our investors and the industry what we have achieved so far with the latest robot. The BladeBUG has, until now, appeared to be exposed to the elements without an outer casing to protect it. That has all changed with our latest model, which is more versatile and robust than ever before.

"The BladeBUG robot has been designed to reduce costly turbine shut downs for our wind energy clients. It's important these projects operate as smoothly as possible as the UK focuses its energy supply on renewable resources. We know the new-look robot is going to demand a lot of attention and we look forward to introducing our supporters and investors to it over the coming months."

The new-look BladeBUG robot has been made possible thanks to Robots for Inspection Network (RIMA), which last year awarded BladeBUG and EGGS Design €150,000 to develop the robot and improve its usability for professional users.

EGGS has worked with a variety of robotics and mechanical engineering projects to commercialise and develop products for production and industrial use. Their experience from delivering designs for extreme environments and professional users provided valuable experience while collaborating with BladeBUG.

Chris Cieslak continued: "The grant really opened up an amazing opportunity to work with the very capable team at EGGS, while giving us access to RIMA network research groups. It's helped us to understand technical challenges better and help widen our solutions for the market."

The BladeBUG robot is safe, fast, reliable and, crucially, can reduce downtime when carrying out essential maintenance tasks or inspecting damaged turbines. The new robot is just one of a multitude of successes for the company over the last 12 months.

In tests earlier this year, the first BladeBUG advanced robot was deployed in just 35 minutes to inspect areas of concern on a turbine blade - up to half the time it would take a human rope access technician. And in 2021, the robot carried out a Lightning Protection Systems check during its first blade walk. It is just one piece of a huge array of tasks the BladeBUG will be capable of performing during offshore wind turbine maintenance and inspection going forward.

BladeBUG is already focusing on increasing the robot's capabilities. Its engineers have been turning their attention to adding a suite of industry-standard tools and functionalities to the BladeBUG so O&M teams can treat defects before it would be viable to use a traditional rope access team. Not only will this increase the efficiency of the turbine but it will also maximise the low carbon energy generated.

The BladeBUG robot provides the safest approach to turbine blade inspections and maintenance activities. It saves wind farm operators time and money whilst lowering the level of risk involved for wind turbine technicians. Go to https://www.bladebug.co.uk/ to find out more about how the BladeBUG can improve turbine efficiency.

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