Wind turbines typically contain thousands of structural bolts, and maintaining the correct tension in flange bolts is critical to ensuring the integrity and stability of these assets. Traditional tensioning methods are inherently inaccurate, inefficient, and unwieldy, resulting in increased operational downtime and higher costs associated with bolted joint installations and inspections. Current methods require tension modification by torque or hydraulic force, unnecessarily altering the current tension, which can result in bolt overtightening.
In response to this industry demand for a more reliable bolted joint inspection method that overcomes the limitations of currently available techniques and tools, FDH offers Bolts iQ™, a faster, safer, and more accurate solution for measuring flange bolt tension.
The Bolts iQ system provides fast and accurate direct tension measurement using FDH’s patented ultrasonic sensing technology. This hand-held measurement tool provides immediate tension readout with pass-fail indication and alerts within an IIoT solution that enables secure, cloud-based data management, maintenance planning, reporting, and analytics.
Advanced machine learning and process automation ensures quality data is collected with minimal technician training and offers more accurate tension predictions on previously un-tested bolts. Cloud-enabled historical data can be used to develop optimized predictive and proactive maintenance and inspection processes.
This novel approach can potentially reduce labor costs, test time, and heavy equipment requirements while improving tension prediction accuracy by a factor of three or more over traditional methods.
The Bolts iQ measurement tool is still a prototype in an advanced testing phase and is currently being trialed on various applications. Though the current trial applications have been successful, FDH is seeking additional partners, including wind farm owners, operators, and inspection service providers, to participate in additional field trials to gather as much comprehensive data as possible.
Please contact us today to learn more about the Bolts iQ device or if you would like to participate in one of our field trials.