The windfarm ‘stethoscope’ that could save the industry millions

wind turbine stethoscope
Image courtesy of Ping Services

The South Australian company Ping Services has developed a ‘stethoscope’ for wind turbines that could potentially save the energy industry AUD$500 million (USD$359 million) a year globally.

The stethoscope is referred to as the Ping Monitor. It continuously monitors the acoustic signature produced by wind turbine blades, automatically alerting operators when there is a change that indicates possible damage.

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This produces savings on preventative maintenance by enabling earlier and more targeted intervention to address blade damage. It also reduces downtime, increasing the profitability of wind farm operations, and makes inspection and maintenance safer for workers.

The State Government-backed Ping with a Research, Commercialisation and Startup Fund (RCSF) grant, having recognised the global commercial potential of their product. Ping also raised AUD$1.3 million in a seed funding round including Australian venture capital fund Artesian.

South Australian Skills and Industry Minister David Pisoni said the commercial-ready second-generation monitor was evidence that South Australian entrepreneurship could re-shape global industries.

“Today marks a huge step forward for Ping Services as we take the Ping Monitor to the global market,” CEO Matthew Stead said. “Until today, we have been working with our customers on a bespoke level. With the second-generation Ping Monitor, we are ready to manufacture and export at a commercial scale. If we got an order for 1000 second-gen Ping Monitors tomorrow, we could fill it.”

Ping Services, led by Stead and fellow acoustician Jon Cooper, has been developing the product for wind farm operators since February 2018. The IoT-enabled Ping Monitor uses complex algorithms to monitor the acoustic signature of wind turbine blades to detect damage.

The Ping Monitor is currently used on wind farms throughout Australia and in several overseas markets. The company is also developing acoustic sensors to detect machinery faults in industries such as resources, rail transport and manufacturing.

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