GRI (Spain) and Toshiba Digital Solutions
Successfully Completed Proof-of-Concept in Visual Inspection Using Image AI at the Factory of the World's Largest Wind Power Tower Manufacturer

July 15, 2022
Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation

Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation (Headquarters: Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture; President: Shunsuke Okada; hereinafter referred as “Toshiba Digital Solutions”) and GRI Renewable Industries (Headquarters: Madrid, Spain; CEO: Antonio Barbosa; hereinafter referred as "GRI"), one of the world's largest wind power tower manufacturers, today announced details of a successfully completed proof-of-concept project in inspecting the surface and shape of large structures with high accuracy using image AI technology at GRI's Seville Plant in Spain since March 2021.

In the field of wind power generation, which makes great contributions to carbon neutrality, GRI manufactures and supplies wind power generation towers to major wind turbine manufacturers and is one of the world's leading manufacturers in terms of both production capacity and sales. With 16 manufacturing facilities in 8 countries including Spain, Brazil, China, U.S.A., Turkey, India, South Africa, and Argentina, GRI is capable of supplying towers of consistent quality to globally active wind turbine manufacturers.

Wind power towers are very large structures (3 to 15 meters in diameter). When performing visual inspection, it is required to inspect both outer and inner surfaces of the towers, as well as the shape of welding. Due to its large size and other issues of variation in quality, it becomes very time consuming for inspectors to conduct visual inspection. And there are not yet any feasible solution available on the market for inspection of such large structures.

Toshiba Digital Solutions is equipped with experiences and capability gained through actual use cases having image AI technology implemented in welding inspection for automotive parts (*1), leveraging the manufacturing know-how and analysis capability accumulated at Toshiba Corporate Manufacturing Engineering Center. 
At the GRI’s factory in Seville, Spain, Toshiba Digital Solutions carried out this proof-of-concept project to validate the implementation of its image AI technology in large inspection equipment (*2) for wind power tower’s surfaces and welding. By combining Toshiba's image AI with the inspection equipment co-designed with GRI, the two companies have realized the automation of surface inspection and 3D shape welding inspection on large structures. The solutions are highly evaluated by GRI for the contribution to improved working time of inspectors and improved overall inspection quality.

Toshiba Digital Solutions will continue to expand the scope of such proof-of-concept project, together with its strategic partner Mitsui & Co., Ltd., a shareholder of GRI, aiming to horizontally deploy the achievements to GRI's other factories, and further contribute to the optimization of the entire manufacturing process as a strategic DX partner of GRI. Leveraging image AI inspection solutions as a starting point, Toshiba Digital Solutions is dedicated to solving social issues in the manufacturing industry by accelerating efforts toward smart factories.

Figure1: Wind power tower (The above image is for illustrative purposes only)
Figure2: Inspection system for surface and welding of wind power towers

Figure2shows the co-designed large automatic inspection equipment for surface and weld shape inspection.
Towers are placed in the large inspection equipment with an automatic inspection system installed. By using camera and 3D system, surface defects and weld shape defects can be identified automatically, meanwhile defect locations are identified and registered by the system.

Figure3: Outer/Inner surface inspection

Toshiba visual inspection package (*3) using Toshiba's proprietary non-defective learning method is adopted in surface inspection for wind power towers. In the proof-of-concept project, defects such as scratches and dents prepared in advance for evaluation were 100% identified. 

Figure4: Weld shape inspection

In weld shape inspection, weld defects such as undercuts and spatters are detected based on the reading of the weld angles and widths. In the proof-of-concept project, weld defects prepared in advance for evaluation which are critical to product quality, were all identified without omission.

About GRI Renewable Industries
Since 2008, GRI Renewable Industries( develops its wind towers and flanges manufacturing activity in the wind energy sector. Currently, it has 16 manufacturing plants in Spain, the USA, Brazil, Argentina, China, Turkey, India and South Africa supplying high quality wind towers and flanges to the wind energy industry worldwide. The company closed 2021 with sales of around 800 million euros and more than 4,000 employees.

About Toshiba Corporate Manufacturing Engineering Center
The Corporate Manufacturing Engineering Center, which serves as the core for the manufacturing activities of the Toshiba Group, has a threefold mission: R&D of technologies and systems related to manufacturing, dissemination of optimal manufacturing methodologies, and provision of technologies and systems in a timely manner. To ensure that attractive, high-quality products and services are supplied to customers at the right time, we work at the leading edge of innovation in the Toshiba Group’s manufacturing activities. Among the technologies we have introduced are a mechatronics technology to support the rationalization of production at the Toshiba Group’s manufacturing sites, a production engineering technology to strengthen the Toshiba Group’s frame work of production systems, a manufacturing process and analysis technologies that realize differentiated products with low cost and high performance


News release on October 28, 2019
Spain's Gestamp and Toshiba Digital & Consulting Corporation
started Proof-of-Concept in weld inspection using IoT and AI at the plant of the world's largest automotive press parts manufacturer.

Large inspection equipment
Concept design by Toshiba Digital Solutions and Toshiba Corporate Manufacturing Engineering Center, and manufactured by GRI.

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This Project (VAICO) is co-granted by European Regional Development Fund and The Center for Industrial Technological Development  [CDTI - Spain]  No. IDI-20201203’