RadKom-QS: Radar Monitoring and Communication for the Quality Assurance and Condition Monitoring of Rotor Blades


Funding: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK)
Partners: Wölfel Engineering GmbH + Co. KG, Nordex SE, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen-Nürnberg
Duration: 11/2018 - 04/2022


  • As an expensive component of a wind turbine which is subject to high levels of stress, the rotor blades play an important role in ensuring cost effectiveness.
  • The cooperative project RadKom-QS has the goal of developing a novel, autonomous and cost-effective sensor network that is integrated during the production stage and enables remote monitoring of operational rotor blades.
  • The Fraunhofer IWES is centrally involved in a subproject for the development of production and validation methods with which rotor blades can be robustly manufactured and subsequently tested.

Rotor blades are one of the most heavily stressed parts of a wind turbine and make up 20% of the production costs. As such, a lightweight and load-optimized design is essential for ensuring the cost efficiency of a wind turbine. Further costs arise during the maintenance of operational rotor blades, which is currently only minimally automated. 

The RadKom-QS cooperative project aims to address these two issues. Given the importance of the rotor blade to the performance and cost efficiency of the wind turbine, RadKom-QS aims to improve the maintenance of this valuable component. The overall goal of the project is to develop a novel, autonomous and cost-effective sensor network that is integrated into the rotor blade during production. The sensor network will be able to assess with a high degree of automation the rotor blade quality following production. Furthermore, it will monitor the structure of the rotor blade during turbine operation.

The Fraunhofer IWES has been charged with a range of research tasks within the scope of this project:

  • Development of production methods to integrate the sensor network and to guarantee the stability of the finished blade.
  • Development of methods to produce representative defects in order to promote important know-how for validation of the sensor network.
  • Rotor blade testing with new test methods such as modal analysis, imaging processes and acoustic emission testing.