Maintenance processes in the wind energy sector are complex. Growing demands on quality and safety and mounting documentation requirements are adding to this complexity. Here are four ways to simplify wind farm maintenance and facilitate smooth operations using new technologies:
1. Predictive maintenance with the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) affects not only production, but also maintenance processes. This is because using sensors and controlling processes with intelligent components can also have an effect on maintenance. For example, big data analytics enable pattern recognition and thus predictive maintenance. This means that components can be exchanged before visible defects appear or put back into the reconditioning cycle at the optimal point in time. The condition of components can always be reviewed in real time.
Predictive maintenance extends the life cycles of wind farms and establishes efficient maintenance cycles. As part of a maintenance concept, it becomes possible to keep effective maintenance history records for wind farms. The reliability of individual components and component groups can thus be analyzed easily.
2. Optimizing the maintenance cycle with RFID
The use of radio frequency identification (RFID) also simplifies maintenance operating processes. With the help of this technology, it becomes easier to monitor the remaining lifespan of components that have been installed. If components equipped with RFID are used in oily, humid environments, for example, time-consuming inspections can be avoided. Moreover, there is no longer any need to decipher barely legible bar codes. By tagging parts involved in complex material pools with additional information about life and maintenance cycles, workloads in many areas can be reduced by up to 90 percent.
3. Mobile solutions simplify technical documentation
Mobile solutions compile all of the documents necessary for maintenance – including data sheets, reports and operating instructions – and support a range of different formats and industry standards. This means that maintenance technicians can always receive the most up-to-date information about their assignments at a glance and can edit and document them directly while on the go using a tablet or smartphone on site. This mobile solution also significantly streamlines documentation for inspections, increasing process quality.
Solutions like this for technical documentation have already been tested in aviation, which has security standards of a similar level to those in the wind energy sector. In aviation, the content management system EFOM (Electronic Flight Operations Manuals) by Lufthansa Industry Solutions collates a range of different documents and information for staff, who can use the app to edit them right away. Flight crews, ground staff and MRO operations (maintenance, repair and overhaul) that use the mobile solution DocSurf have the right information available on their smartphones or tablets around the clock.
4. Augmented reality systems simplify workflows
Data glasses and applications for augmented reality are simplifying maintenance and repairs processes significantly. This means, for example, that charts and instructions can be displayed right in the technician’s field of view. The same applies to voice-operated processes. They also have the potential to simplify maintenance workflows, as maintenance work and documentation can take place simultaneously. With Honeywell’s language solution, Lufthansa Industry Solutions has already created a prototype for the voice-operated inspection of auxiliary power units.
Brochure portfolio wind energy
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Product sheet Windpulse
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IDG Study Predictive Analytics 2018
Please download the study Predictive Analytics 2018 here (in German).
IDG Study Predictive Analytics 2018 – key findings / whitepaper
Please download the key findings of the study Predictive Analytics 2018 here (in German).