Hywind quality control and inspectionApplus+ is taking part in the Hywind project, the first commercial pre-series of floating offshore wind farms worldwide. This is a unique and pioneering project due to its size and complexity.

In June 2015, Hywind (Scotland) Ltd, a subsidiary of Statoil ASA, awarded the contract for the construction of five spar floating substructures for the pilot wind farm on the east coast of Scotland to the temporary joint venture between Navantia and Windar. The contract represents more than 450,000 hours workforce.

In March 2016, the five floating structures went into production near Ferrol (Galicia, Spain). The first blocks were placed in the assembly area, followed by the welding work. It is in this phase that Applus+ has been involved, undertaking quality control and inspection in the wind farm. Nine Applus+ professionals, as well as some additional personnel to support specific activities, are permanently involved in the inspection of welding using a variety of non-destructive testing methods.

Due to its magnitude, the project has required a significant adaptation of the Fene Shipyard’s facilities, with the relocation of flat blocks workshop so as to convert it into an installation suitable for the manufacture of these types of floating structures. Each of the structures to be constructed is shaped like a steel cylinder and composed of several internally reinforced ring sections. At its widest point, it measures 14.4 meters in diameter and it is some 91 meters tall. Inside, there are two watertight compartments, the lower of which is the largest, designed to provide the final assembly with sufficient floating stability to cope with the adverse weather conditions in which these structures will have to operate during their life cycle.

The qualified Applus+ team of professionals uses, among other methods, the Time of Flight Diffraction (ToFD) recordable ultrasound technique, an advanced technology that provides a more exhaustive, higher-quality, safer inspection. The inspection is performed with state-of-the-art equipment which automatically records the whole inspection process. This method provides the best alternative to industrial radiology by avoiding the interference of the latter with welding activities which would extend the manufacturing time process.