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Eleven-I: Revolutionising Wind Turbine Maintenance Technology

Choosing Accu for all of their fixings and fasteners, Chief Technical Officer Dr Chris Gregory explains our growing relationship with his company Eleven-I and the importance of consistently high quality stainless steel screws and nuts in developing their bespoke asset monitoring technology.

Bespoke Continuous Asset Monitoring Systems

Eleven-I have designed and built a specialised wind turbine blade structural health monitoring system, capable of offering 24/7 blade structural analysis.

The system, which is specially designed to be installed inside the blade, helps the team to identify any manufacturing variations, potential resonance issues and can even support efforts to optimise blade matching.

Their approach to data capture ensures that Eleven-I’s customers within the Wind and Industrial markets are able to spot potential problems or defects early, enabling them to schedule and undertake necessary repair work to a cost effective schedule.

As a result, this continuous asset monitoring system can lead to significant operation and maintenance cost reduction.

How Eleven-I’s Technology Supports Renewable Energy

Although still early into their operation, which had only just kicked off during the COVID-19 pandemic, Eleven-I’s asset monitoring technology is gaining traction within the renewable energy sector.

As the business grows, they hope to install more health monitoring systems across the industry. Eleven-I are confident that they are supplying the renewable market with the tools and expertise needed to ensure a reliable method of collecting information on preventative maintenance.

The team feels that this is key to drawing maximum ROI on wind turbine technology. With continual analysis affording data streams to help monitor behaviour 24/7, Eleven-I’s customers can reduce unforeseen breakdowns, along with minimising downtime and ensure lower maintenance costs.

As they work to scale their equipment, Eleven-I are keen on developing their asset monitoring systems, helping their customers to detect anomalies and inconsistencies quicker than when choosing alternative solutions, with a key emphasis on contributing to net zero targets.

Dr Chris Gregory, CTO of Eleven-I, comments that “Our customer interactions have all been positive, with many benefits of our system beyond just defect detection becoming apparent.”

How Eleven-I Manufactures Sensors To Collect Data

The company has developed their own custom ‘Eleven-I Lab’ software which allows them to quickly capture and analyse the data from multiple sensor nodes when conducting testing.

Their sensor nodes feature a built-in high specification digital accelerometer and are capable of transmitting data over robust wired connections, or through wireless communication. 

Each sensor is designed for easy integration, capable of being integrated into new blades during manufacturing or testing, but can also be permanently installed, i.e. within a wind turbine blade. 

One of their unique selling points however is the fact their monitoring and analysis solutions are also suitable for being retrofitted on site, with their specialised software platform allowing for seamless integration with existing data streams, to help quickly and efficiently identify issues.

Why Accu Has Become A Key Supplier For Eleven-I

“We use Accu for all our fixings” explains Chris, “these tend to be M4, M5 and M6 stainless steel screws with socket, pozi, button and countersunk heads - along with nuts and nylocks to go with them.”

For Eleven-I, developing strong working relationships with suppliers is key to success, particularly in maintaining these links as they grow.

As opportunities develop for the company to expand their sensor & analysis technologies, it’s important for Eleven-I to maintain a lean supply chain, with consistent high quality components delivered quickly and at the right price. Chris comments that “Accu enables us to keep our stockholding to a minimum which avoids tying up capital on the shelf.”

The team has also complimented the availability of 3D CAD models for our catalogue of standard components, along with the detailed technical specifications on each product page.

Facilitating The Progress Of Future Wind Turbine Innovations

As renewable energy becomes more accessible and widespread, it has the potential to transform the way we power our communities. 

Researchers and engineers are constantly exploring new ways to generate energy from renewable sources, such as wind turbines, hydroelectric, geothermal and solar power.

The renewable energy industry is rapidly evolving, with new advancements in technology being made frequently.

With the push to make more headway in clean and renewable energy sources, it is now more crucial than ever before that devices, such as wind turbines, be monitored to maintain their peak performance. 

As a result, smart technologies - such as Eleven-I’s monitoring systems - are pivotal to achieving a more sustainable future.

Bill Slatter, CEO at Eleven-I reflects on the impact of smart technologies for the future of renewable energy, “Wind turbine blade failures account for an enormous percentage of turbine failures. As the industry progresses, there is a race for bigger and bigger blades and that has led to rapid innovation. 

These new designed wind turbine blades do have problems and we’re helping people understand where they may occur or whether they are actually doing just as they should and whether they can be improved.”

Hear more from Bill Slatter and Dr Chris Gregory in the video below as they discuss the industry problems that Eleven-I technology can solve.

Making a great impact for the development of technological solutions in renewable energy, Accu is incredibly proud to support the efforts and innovation of Eleven-I, both now and in the future.