New software optimizes testing of blades

4. August 2022

In the innovation project, Requim, several partners are developing a new technology that can improve erosion testing of wind turbine blades’ leading edges. The product both improves the quality of testing and makes the test faster to complete.

Everyone disappoints over time – including wind turbine blades, which in the open nature tend to erode as the years go by.

To counter damage to the leading edges of the blades – damage that comes mainly from rain – the wind industry continuously launches new materials in the blades so that they last longer. These materials are tested prior to market introduction, which is done in a so-called Rain Erosion Tester, where wing parts are quickly thrown around in a real environment while exposed to water droplets.

“Erosion is a major problem in the wind industry, because when the blade is old and worn out, the wind turbine produces less energy,” says Charlotte Bay Hasager, Professor at DTU Wind and Energy Systems.

“It’s aerodynamic in the beginning, but becomes less performing as the surface is destroyed,” she says.

Together with partners from the companies Wind Power Lab and R&D Test Systems A/S, DTU Wind and Energy Systems participates in the innovation project REQUIM, where they jointly optimize rain testing of blades with artificial intelligence. Energy Cluster Denmark facilitates the project.

“Our role in the project is to develop software that can accurately tell when erosion begins to occur when new products are tested for the wind and aerospace industry,” says Anders Røpke, CEO of Wind Power Lab:

“Our software will optimize the use of rain erosion tests so that the quality of erosion products is thoroughly tested before use,” he says.

A big saving

Today, the wing damage is reviewed manually by looking at photos from the tests. The new AI technology automates this process, which can save up to 20 hours of assessment work per tested blade. Today, you can manually test for a type of damage in the upper layer. With artificial intelligence, you can test for air bubbles, fissures and other damage in several layers.

R&D Test Systems A/S is the so-called problem owner in the project, as the company develops and sells Rain Erosion Test machines.

“We spend 20 percent of the test time on image processing in continuation of a test period,” says Rasmus Buch Andersen, Technical Product Manager at R&D Test Systems A/S:

“It will therefore be a great saving when we automate the process further. We have 14 machines out in the world and are running right now. They are typically very heavily coated – they run 80% of the available hours of the year. Therefore, the product from REQUIM will allow you to get to the market faster with your wind product than today,” he says.

REQUIM lasts one year and initially develops proof of concept. The partners then want to apply for funding for further development of the final product.

“This helps us to be ready for the future – a product development that we can use for our customers. You are trying to make something that can live for 25 years in reality, and therefore it is important that we test as accurately as possible,” concludes Rasmus Buch Andersen.

The REQUIM project runs for one year and has a total budget of DKK 2.2 million. The project is supported by the EU’s Regional Fund and is facilitated by Energy Cluster Denmark. The project partners are: R&D, Wind Power Lab, DTU Wind and Energy Systems and Energy Cluster Denmark. Read more about innovation projects at