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Because those giant turbine blades aren't gonna clean themselves
February 21, 2013 7:05 PM   Subscribe

"Companies like Rope Partner exist because rope access is the cheapest way to maintain the surfaces of wind turbines."

Bonus videos: field technicians dangling from ropes here, and a first-person view from a helmetcam here.
posted by Quietgal (19 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Some more fun with wind turbines and ropes
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:23 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a wind-win situation.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:32 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I would gladly make this my day job.
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:39 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cool piece, thanks! Would be a great job, if you didn't have a family - those 5 month site-based stints would get a little tough, if you had kids at home.
posted by smoke at 7:45 PM on February 21, 2013


I bet a good number of them scream "I can't believe they pay me to do this" as they work.

While I shake my head and wonder if it's possible to pay anyone enough to do this kind of work.
posted by ocschwar at 7:55 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I bet this will be a TV show soon.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:57 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


And we have a winner for 2013's "Sexiest Job I Could Never, Ever, Ever Do" contest.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:57 PM on February 21, 2013


That'd be a blast!

Back in my tower climbing days we used to clean and paint radio and cell towers. A pressure washer gun on the end of a 50' rappel line can be quite fun.
posted by calamari kid at 8:06 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cool piece, thanks! Would be a great job, if you didn't have a family

And the sort of fear of heights that makes even looking at those pictures result in sweating palms and a general uneasiness.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:06 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I bet a good number of them scream "I can't believe they pay me to do this" as they work.

Eh, from a climbing perspective, it's pretty dull. Oh goody, I climbed up a ladder. That's very exciting. And now I'm dangling way above the ground - whatever, I'm used to that.

The job part of the job is relatively lame. It's just that the kind of people who are Very Serious about climbing have both the skills and the schedule flexibility. Climbers seek challenges; almost by definition, these guys have climbing confidence and skills developed to the point that working on these windmills doesn't even come close to qualifying as a challenge. It's like if driving was an incredibly rare skill, and everyone you hired to drive a slow stupid delivery truck was only doing it so they could afford to race F1 the rest of the time.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:16 PM on February 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Cleaning these wind towers would be a good job to turn over to the quadcopters, I think. They could be outfitted with spray / wipe attachments, and even though they wouldn't carry a big load of cleaner, they could work in short segments, coming back to a base station for charging and more supplies as needed. In fact, each wind tower could have its own little 'service bay' somewhere, with a few quadcopters living there, coming out to do some cleaning bit by bit whenever the weather was fine.
posted by woodblock100 at 8:27 PM on February 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


I bet this will be a TV show soon.

Just many long minutes of a couple guys dangling against a big turbine blade, interspersed with the obligatory helmet-cam cleaning close-ups. Must watch TV! At least the end of season cliff hanger pretty much writes itself.
posted by ssg at 8:40 PM on February 21, 2013


Oh, my - a job that is both terrifying* AND deathly boring**.

* Speaking as someone who is not comfortable on the upper rungs of 6' ladder.

** "It's rags. It's Simple Green."
posted by she's not there at 9:29 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


This sure as hell sounds like out would be all kinds of better than shuffling paper in an office.
posted by happyroach at 10:04 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


How you brazen liberals can countenance the risk to life and limb inherent in wind power I will never know! /teapartyconcerntroll
posted by dhartung at 10:49 PM on February 21, 2013


Cleaning these wind towers would be a good job to turn over to the quadcopters, I think.

Quite possibly. I think we'll see them used for automated inspections in the very near future. I know of an electricity distribution company that's trialing them for inspecting pylon conditions, apparently they've chosen a small model because even if it crashes into the line it doesn't cause a fault (well, not to the line anyway)
posted by atrazine at 2:23 AM on February 22, 2013


Wait, they only go down the ropes? The company should hire some cavers. They wouldn't waste time rappelling down to the ground and climbing all the way back up when they reach the bottom of each blade. They'd climb back up the rope.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:15 AM on February 22, 2013


Cleaning these wind towers would be a good job to turn over to the quadcopters

Probably it would be better done by swarms of solar powered autonomous hexabots with gecko adhesive feet. And little scrub brushes.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 8:26 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's okay when everything's working. Otherwise, perhaps not so good.
posted by Wordshore at 9:13 AM on February 22, 2013


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