Ex-tech’s wireless microsensors transmit crucial data from wind farms to operators, improving worker safety and reducing equipment breakdown. “We know that explosions occur that could have been avoided. Our sensors detect problems on wind farms that human beings could never find,” says Jan Holm, CEO of the Ex-tech Group.
The EU is counting on offshore wind power to help to achieve the climate targets in the European Green Deal. However, this promising industry comes with inherent risks. Workers may encounter electrical and mechanical hazards or fires and explosions. Corrosion from seawater is a particular threat to equipment.
“Monitoring, inspections and proper maintenance are crucial to reducing the risks. It’s surprising, then, that inspections are still being done manually. Technology can help to do the job much better,” explains Holm.
The Ex-tech Group delivers the world’s smallest sensors for hazardous areas on offshore wind farms. The wireless microsensors stick on assets such as cables, pipes and high voltage fuses, even in difficult-to-reach places with small surface areas.
“Our sensors measure key metrics, including temperature, touch, proximity, water detection and humidity. Warning signs such as vibration or a rapid rise in heat are uncovered immediately through combinations of metrics and algorithms,” says Holm.
Alerts are sent immediately to the wind farm technicians, who can then check if the equipment needs a simple replacement or if a dangerous situation is brewing.
To illustrate this, Holm tells the story of Ex-tech’s first microsensor installation. “Within one hour of set-up, our sensors detected serious corrosion on an offshore facility that several manual inspections had missed. Fortunately, the operator could act quickly to remedy the problem, avoiding costly and dangerous equipment failure,” says Holm.
Ex-tech microsensors conduct inspections automatically, 24/7, reducing the time spent on periodic manual inspections. “Wind farms will save thousands of hours in labour and millions of dollars in costs from this benefit alone,” explains Holm.
Moreover, fewer manual inspections mean less human error and safer working conditions. With Ex-tech microsensors, technicians can monitor and control each asset remotely, improving accuracy and avoiding risky conditions offshore.
Ex-tech microsensors are also easy to install. “All you need is your finger to glue it on the surface,” says Holm. “We train our customers to set up the first turbine, for example, and they can finish the rest themselves.”
In addition, Ex-tech microsensors help wind farms to meet all government safety requirements.
The Ex-tech Group is carving out a niche in the global market for wireless sensors, which is expected to reach USD 6.7 billion by 2026.
“I see a positive change happening in this market. Before, many industries were reluctant to adopt wireless sensor technology. Now they are starting to embrace it and enjoy its benefits. Ex-tech alone expects to see a 20 to 25 per cent increase in its market growth” says Holm.
Ex-tech’s geographic focus is Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The microsensors can be used in a variety of industries, including all types of renewable and traditional energy production, hydrogen and pharmaceuticals.
The Ex-tech Group is a leader in explosion protection and Ex compliance. Introduced in February 2021, the microsensors are the most recent innovation in a range of Ex-tech solutions for hazardous area protection. The sensors are also the first of their kind to receive an Ex certification.
“We plan to make a big change in offshore wind and other industries. Companies must learn to trust this type of technology, and we intend to show them the way,” concludes Holm.