SSE Challenge 6

Methods needed to reduce the utilisation of bolt tensioning and torqueing tools in wind turbines and to reduce downtime and technician time

What's the open innovation challenge?

The challenge is to deliver a cost-effective method to identify loss of tension or failure of a bolt. The method shall be suitable for use at existing offshore and onshore wind farms, without the need for widespread bolt disturbance.

Proposals are welcome for cost-effective solutions in a variety of forms, including:

  • On-line tension/torque monitoring systems which eliminate the need for physical bolt checks
  • Quicker and safer methods of checking bolt tension
  • Methods to detect bolt failure or to detect bolt defects prior to failure
  • Data driven methods to target bolt checks most effectively

Proposals are welcome for:

  • Existing market-ready technologies
  • Development proposals to improve on market-ready capability

Challenge background

SSE Renewables is a leading wind farm operator in the UK and Ireland. Reduction of technician intervention, turbine downtime and hazardous tasks is a priority.

10% bolt checks are performed annually at key bolted connections on operational wind turbines to check for loss of tension. Hydraulic bolting tools are heavy and cumbersome to use, posing manual handling and entrapment risks. Work locations have access challenges including marine transfers, work at height and confined spaces.

Bolt failures are not automatically detected. In the event of bolt failure, all wind turbines affected by the bolt batch must be shut down until bolt checks can be completed, which can also result in significant downtime.

Project stages

  • Feasibility assessment
  • Technology development (immature products)
  • Trial at onshore wind farm
  • Consideration for wider fleet deployment

Proposal requirements

The deadline for proposals is 31 January 2020. Proposals should include:

  • Description of solution
  • Technology readiness
  • Development and commercialisation plan
  • Indicative costs
  • Proof of concept data, reference cases, reference to publications

How to apply

Send your questions and proposals to