Siemens Gamesa

Transforming energy through the Internet of Things

$17 Million

per season expected cost savings

77%

faster service operations projected

64%

lower cost-per-hour on-blade maintenance expenses

In the energy industry, a shift to digital can be really transformative. We worked shoulder-to-shoulder with Siemens Gamesa to understand their needs so we could write not just good code, but the right code to make a real difference.

—Dylan Tack, Director of Engineering, Metal Toad

Business problem: A dearth of operational data

Offshore wind turbines are truly awe-inspiring machines—and they require a similarly awe-inspiring amount of maintenance. Keeping these behemoths functioning at peak performance requires complex operational planning, predictive maintenance, and precise scheduling.

As a leading supplier of wind power to customers all over the globe, Siemens Gamesa is responsible for a ten-year warranty on a large number of offshore wind turbines. Maintenance ships and crews account for the largest percentage of Siemens Gamesa’s turbine service expenditures, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars each day. Industry consolidation and new turbine blade technologies have made high performance and cost reduction crucial.

But with the existing technology, the activity of the ships performing maintenance was a black hole of data.

  • Planning relied on human estimates, which were imprecise and error-prone

  • Hard data for actual onsite operations was sorely lacking

  • The accumulated errors and lack of precision led to 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 money.

Technology solution: Smart data collection, analysis, and visualization

Metal Toad created a proof of concept for a solution 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 time to and from the service location

  • time spent docking and ascending the turbine

  • performance of every step of service on the turbine

  • atmospheric conditions at the service site

The smart platform captures critical data and timelapse video of every stage of the operation. A mesh network of offshore devices takes the data from the field to the cloud—replacing the old system of guesstimating with hard facts.

This information is the key to creating efficiencies and cost savings, but it’s only valuable if it’s actionable. So Metal Toad built a powerful web portal that uses statistical methods to analyze the raw data and provide clear visualizations, through which managers can easily:

  • model accurate time estimates of warranty operations

  • identify and capitalize on best practices from high-performing crews

  • pinpoint problem areas and solve them quickly

  • optimize travel routes and timing for service vessels

  • create performance benchmarks and train crews accordingly

  • execute optimizations quickly from shift to shift

  • quantify potential operational savings

Impact: Efficiency, optimization, and cost reduction

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 decision-making

  • 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.

 

Ready for transformation?