Offshore wind turbines are truly awe-inspiring machines—and they require a similarly awe-inspiring amount of maintenance. As a leading supplier of wind power to customers all over the globe, Siemens Gamesa is responsible for warranties on a large number of turbines. Industry consolidation and new turbine blade technologies have made high performance and cost reduction crucial.
Maintenance ships and crews account for the largest percentage of the turbine service expenditures, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars each day. But with the existing technology, the activity of the ships performing maintenance was a black hole of data—and that lack of accurate info led to uncertainty, errors, and costly decisions.
For efficient, cost-effective operational planning, Siemens Gamesa needed accurate, directly observed data about every step of their maintenance procedures. Without a precise digital system, all that crucial information was just blowing in the wind—along with any opportunity to optimize operations and save
Metal Toad created a proof of concept that has the potential to revolutionize wind turbine maintenance operations. The heart of the solution is a new “smart platform” leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT)—a network of sensors and cameras that capture data about every step of a crew’s operation, including vessel travel and docking time, performance of every step of service, and atmospheric conditions. A mesh network of offshore devices takes the data from the field to the cloud—replacing the old system of guesstimating with hard facts.
To make this vital information actionable, Metal Toad built a web portal that uses statistical methods to transform the raw data into visualizations, through which managers can easily:
- model accurate operational time estimates
- optimize travel routes and timing for service vessels
- create performance benchmarks and train crews on best practices
- execute optimizations quickly from shift to shift
- pinpoint problem areas and solve them quickly
Siemens Gamesa’s goal is to increase the use of wind energy by reducing its cost—and now they have the tools they need to do just that. The smart platform and web portal system is a vital differentiator in a highly competitive market that has long been stymied by outdated manual data
collection and operations tracking.
The potential results of this proof of concept are extremely promising:
- Expected savings of over $17 million per season thanks to fact-based
- Reduced expenses due to increased crew productivity on the turbine
- Ability to compare cost per hour of every on-blade operation
- Precise asset tracking of service vessels and crew
Filling the information void with hard data can transform the landscape for Siemens Gamesa. The future of energy is wind power, and this proof of concept shows that the future of wind power depends on leading-edge digital technology.
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