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Sterblue starts wind turbine inspections in China

Winward is a wind turbine inspection service provider in China, and they are using DJI drones and Sterblue software to achieve new levels of efficiency. Our ambition: to jointly inspect up to 3,000 wind turbines in China within one year!

Get some insights on how we met in the area of Yueyang to kick off an exciting mission.

China’s worldwide lead in wind power

Having an installed wind power capacity of more than 216 GW, China is leading the globe in wind energy production. It is currently owning one third of the world’s installed wind power capacities, and expected to reach 1.3 TW of wind power by 2050!

Renewable energies such as wind power are important for China to provide a clean, competitive and infinite source of energy, and to reduce foreign energy dependencies.

Wind turbines in the area of Yueyang

China’s lead in wind power production can be traced back to several reasons: Geographically, China has big wind power resources such as its long coastline and wide inland areas.

Also, the Chinese wind turbine industry progresses very rapidly, and proven technologies are ready to deploy at an early stage: The Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Envision was the first one developing smart wind turbines that accurately perceive their own status and external environmental conditions to improve performance.

Finally, China follows a political strategy to reduce carbon emissions for powering up renewable energies instead.

Sterblue mission: to inspect 25 wind turbines and to train Winward to the Sterblue App

Located in Chengdu, Winward inspects wind turbines by using drones. To meet Winward onsite, Nicolas and Samir from Sterblue travelled from France to China. The goal: to inspect 25 wind turbines and to train Winward to use Sterblue tools for inspecting wind turbines!

Samir from Sterblue, Ruju from Winward and Nicolas from Sterblue

Ruju from Winward welcomed Samir and Nicolas in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, before leaving to Yueyang together in order to carry out the operations on side. The three hours drive was an adventure for the Sterblue team members, especially passing many charming and isolated places like rice fields and tiny villages. While Yueyang is a large city with more than five million inhabitants, its area is infused with parks and nature.

Street close to Yueyang

Finally arrived in Yueyang, the team started with the operations. After a briefing session in the early morning, the drone pilots came to the field. Training Winward to Sterblue worked very well: Due to the ergonomic and intuitive side of the Sterblue software, the language barrier didn’t play a big role anymore. This was supported by the fact that we released the Sterblue App and Cloud in Chinese.

Sterblue App in Chinese
“Using Sterblue’s inspection solution, our team is able (...) to generate adequate inspection report. Samir and Nicolas are very helpful during our inspection. Thanks Sterblue for bringing the service to China!”

Ruju Liu, General Manager at Winward

Yet, a challenge was set by the strong heat and humidity. Especially the Sterblue team members were not used to it and struggled a bit in the beginning. Still, after three days of pilot training and four days of inspections, the team completed the mission successfully. The Winward drone pilots were able to inspect the last 12 wind turbines 100% autonomously!

“Working with Ruju and his team was a great experience. The language barrier vanished very quickly as we rapidly got used to work together. Sterblue software has proven again to be an intuitive tool that users and partners easily get familiar with.”

Samir Belasri, Senior Business Developer at Sterblue
Inspecting wind turbines in the area of Yueyang
Samir and Ruju

Visit at the DJI HQ in Shenzhen

For carrying out wind turbine inspections, we use the DJI drone Matrice 210 RTK. It is the most adapted drone to inspect assets of the size and complexity of a wind turbine.

Taking advantage of being in China, Samir visited the DJI HQ in Shenzhen. During several meetings with DJI sales and marketing departments, he exposed the Sterblue strategy on the Chinese market, and explained how DJI drones will give a boost to industrial inspections.

DJI and Sterblue meeting at DJI headquarter in Shenzhen

We decided to join our efforts to inform our industrial partners about how the combination of a good hardware, efficient software and skilled resources can greatly enhance their operations.

From September to November, we are jointly planning several webinars for everyone interested in inspecting industrial assets! The webinars will include a live demo, use cases and a Q&A session.

“By providing a reliable, scalable and complete automated flying software solution on top of DJI’s drone technology platform, Sterblue makes efficient drone inspections accessible to businesses around the world.”

Sunny Liao, Enterprise Sales Director, Europe at DJI.
Winward and Sterblue team at lunch

Results

  • Sterblue product adapted to the Chinese market
  • Carrying out wind turbine inspections by collecting around 11.250 images of 25 wind turbines
  • Training Winward to the Sterblue App
  • Meeting DJI in their HQ Shenzhen

This project is just a glimpse of what Sterblue software will be doing in the frame of the partnership: we are planning to inspect 3000 wind turbines with Winward next year, and to constantly scaling up in the future. Also, the internationalisation of Sterblue is continuing. After being available in Chinese, more languages will follow soon.

Bringing Sterblue to Chinese wind turbine operators, we are happy to contribute to safe, accurate and efficient wind turbine inspections. Our experiences in Yueyang were exciting and inspiring, and we are happy and proud to follow on our vision in China!