A SPECIALIST business has provided a wireless method to weigh 262ft long wind turbine blades on the shores of Southampton Water.

MHI Vestas needed an accurate means of weighing 80metre long blades – the length of nine London buses – at the root and tip after painting them.

The blades are made on the Isle of Wight and transported to MHI Vestas on the site of the former Fawley Power Station.

Dynamic Load Monitoring (UK) Ltd (DLM), of Nursling, Southampton, specialises in designing and making load cells and load monitoring equipment used in the renewable energy supply chain. It provided a 25-tonne Telemetry Tensile Link and a 20ft capacity S-sell Load Cell, both from its standard range.

The weight data is read by an operator on two separate wireless handheld displays, with load monitoring equipment rigged beneath the hooks of the site’s overhead lifting equipment.

Once the total weight is determined, the manufacturer calculates how much ballast to apply to each blade to create the sets of three that make up a turbine.

One rotation of the three-bladed turbine can power a typical home for up to 29 hours.

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James Perkins, MHI Vestas site manager at Fawley, said: “Accurate data capture allows us to precisely calculate the amount of ballast material needed for each blade, which is critical when blades are mounted and spinning on the offshore wind turbines. Accurate weighing allows us to reduce future O&M [operation and maintenance] costs and ensure the blades are spinning as much as possible.

“DLM’s load cells are certainly put through their paces. Their repair and calibration team are very responsive and have a very short lead time on parts and repair works, which helps us out a great deal.”

Chris Scrutton, technical manager at DLM, said: “It’s always a pleasure to see our products associated with organisations at the cutting edge of their sector. The end user’s parent companies [Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Vestas Wind Systems] are two of the global leaders in wind and energy. To hear that such an operation values our products and responsiveness is a tremendous endorsement. We look forward to playing an integral role in production of many turbine blades at this important manufacturing location.”