Redhouse Additive Manufacturing, Founded by Navajo Technical University Student Roy Rafael Jr., Joins Sandia National Laboratories and New Mexico Small Businesses to Collaborate on the Development of an Unmanned Aerial Inspection System for Wind Turbines
The New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) program announced the addition of Redhouse Additive Manufacturing to the team consisting of Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) and three New Mexico small businesses (Emerging Technology Ventures, Systems Technology Solutions, Robotic Technology Solutions) to develop an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for the inspection of wind turbines. The team is developing an end-to-end capability solution using autonomous UASs that employ a multi-modal sensor to inspect wind turbines and a neural network engine to provide predictive condition-based maintenance recommendations to wind farm operators. SNL will provide critical expertise on nondestructive inspection techniques for turbine blades and evaluation of sensor arrays to support the optimization of the neural network engine for predictive analytics.
Redhouse Additive Manufacturing and its founder, Roy Rafael, Jr., are focused on the development and manufacturing of Unmanned Aerial Systems for applications including critical infrastructure protection and precision agriculture. Roy is a student at Navajo Technical University and a client of the Ke’yah Advanced Rural Manufacturing Alliance (KARMA), a collaborative project between Navajo Technical University, Navajo Tech Innovation Center, and a consortium of universities, incubators, and manufacturers to support Navajo entrepreneurs. “I would like to thank Scott Halliday for the opportunity to partner with the fabrication lab at Navajo Technical University,” said Roy Rafael. “Without the support from NTU Innovation Center, KARMA and Cliff with his team at ETV, it would not be possible to be where I am today.”
Ben Jones, the Kellogg Business Development Director at Navajo Technical University, stated, “The KARMA Team strives to bring industry experts, academia, and small businesses to provide focused entrepreneurial support for Navajo Technical University students to succeed in a complex and challenging technological environment. Roy emulates exactly the unique Navajo student entrepreneur.”
Industry lead, Cliff Hudson, stated “the addition of Roy’s engineering and design expertise along with the ability to manufacture precision UAS components is essential to delivering a solution for this emerging market opportunity. The NMSBA program is vital in providing funding for the world-class wind energy experts at SNL to support the small business team”.
The market for UAS wind turbine inspection services is projected to reach $6 billion annually by 2024. Achieving high levels of turbine availability while optimizing maintenance costs is fundamental to a profitable wind-energy business. The team’s solution enables wind farm operators to identify the earliest symptoms of malfunction or damage in a wind turbine and to compare information on the current state of the machine against the turbine’s historical data to make prognoses for the future. The team is positioned to capture a significant share of this opportunity with their unique solution.
About the Ke’yah Advanced Rural Manufacturing Alliance (KARMA):
The Ke’yah Advanced Rural Manufacturing Alliance (KARMA) is a collaborative project between Navajo Technical University, Navajo Tech Innovation Center, and a consortium of universities, incubators, and manufacturers. The goals of the project are to develop strong small businesses across the Navajo Nation focused on advanced manufacturing or sister services. The team has come together under the auspices of a funded project by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to champion and advance entrepreneurial development and advanced manufacturing skills and know-how to the Navajo community.
About the New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program (NMSBA):
The NMSBA Program allows New Mexico small businesses who are facing a technical challenge to access the unique expertise and capabilities of Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. At no cost to the business, small businesses with a technical challenge can seek assistance from lab scientists or engineers for projects that require testing, design consultation and access to special equipment or facilities.