SSE Challenge 6

Non-invasive methods needed to identify the need to torque wind turbine bolts.

What's the open innovation challenge?

The challenge is to develop and identify a non-invasive method to determine if a bolt needs to be torqued. The method must be suitable for both offshore and onshore wind turbines, and the information gathered should build up a picture of areas where bolt torqueing is more likely to be needed, so that maintenance schedules can be targeted more efficiently.

Challenge details

SSE plc is a leading offshore wind farm operator in the UK and Ireland. Offshore wind farm operations are largely dependent on the use of technicians, vessels and equipment, to monitor, inspect and maintain the major assets and components. Minimising costs, health and safety risks and turbine downtime associated with operations and maintenance (O&M) tasks is a major industry priority.

SSE spends a large amount of time, money and effort checking bolts on wind turbines both offshore and onshore to determine if they need torqueing.  So, a safe, reliable and cost-effective method to identify if bolts need torqueing is needed. Existing hydraulic equipment is difficult to use at height and in confined spaces so any new solution must rigorously address safety issues as well.

Anticipated timelines

SSE is seeking individuals who can develop and run a pilot project with the capability of rolling out at scale, and the solution must:

  • Provide the ability to identify whether a bolt needs torqued without a physical test
  • Be cost efficient
  • Be suitable and rugged enough for both onshore and offshore wind turbines
  • Provide ability to capture information to allow data analysis to be conducted

This challenge looks likely to be a two-phase project, with phase one covering feasibility and phase two covering engineering optimisation. Timelines for the project will be between 3 - 6 months for phase 1, and 12 - 24 months for phase 2.

Proposal tips

The deadline for the challenge is 31st July 2019 and SSE are looking for concise, non-confidential proposals that:

  • Describe the technical approach
  • Ideally include information on the technological readiness of the proposal
  • Include proof of concept data, reference to any publications or previous applications and potential route to commercialisation

How to apply

Send your questions and proposals to