Onyx InSight has provided fieldPRO software to ERG Germany to support the digitisation of wind energy operations and maintenance (O&M) practices across a portfolio of 17 wind farms, totalling 117 turbines.
ERG Germany is currently using the fieldPRO cloud software platform to manage inspections across its whole German fleet and coordinate maintenance activity at two of its wind farms. The company currently has 600 MW of wind farms under technical management.
FieldPRO is a mobile, cloud-based inspection and service tool developed by predictive analytics company Onyx InSight. It gives asset owners clarity and control over their operations, improving the safety and efficiency of turbine and equipment inspections. ERG Germany is now looking to roll out fieldPRO at third-party client sites, with a longer-term view to adopting the technology company-wide.
As the wind energy sector increasingly moves towards ‘digitalisation’ of its O&M approaches, ‘digitisation’ of key performance information collected in the field is an essential first step. However, a broader cultural shift is required in order to enable the transition from traditional reporting processes to new digital techniques.
Many turbine inspection technicians are still using pen and paper methods to record turbine data during inspection, with wind farm operators still on occasion using spreadsheets to manually input, track and monitor this data. With reports saved in different locations, this process can be time consuming and resource-intensive to manage – and any inconsistencies in reporting make comparative analysis difficult. This challenge is particularly prominent when monitoring a wide range of turbine models.
ERG Germany’s turbine fleet encompasses models from all of the major turbine manufacturers, including Siemens Gamesa, GE, MHI Vestas and Enercon. This varied technological mix means that ERG Germany requires an OEM agnostic solution to effectively digitise its turbine data, beginning with data collection at the inspection stage through to analysis and reporting.
ERG Germany’s adoption of the fieldPRO system has also resulted in direct benefits for its teams in the field. It enables technicians to spend more time on a day-to-day basis conducting turbine inspection and repairs, rather than focusing on time-consuming data management. Following fully customised checklists, technicians are able to quickly log inspection findings on a live basis and, moreover, demonstrate adherence to health and safety protocol throughout the process.
“One of the core benefits of the fieldPRO system is having all of our digital data on one platform” said Alberto Daloli, Managing Director of ERG Germany. “With all of our inspection data in a single report, we can interpret it more easily, which is a real advantage. ERG Germany recognises the importance of digitisation in O&M practices. As our technicians adopt and become familiar with a digitised method of reporting our turbine performance data, the company as a whole will reap the benefits of a digital culture as they are realised. The fieldPRO software has made the transition straightforward, because it’s designed with turbine technicians in mind. It only required minimal customisation to meet our needs, so we could quickly start using it to build our database.”
Won Shin, Software Product Manager at Onyx InSight, added that digitising field data collection brings immediate benefits to both inspection and management teams, considerably improving the efficiency and safety of daily operations. It dramatically increases the quality of data asset operators are able to collect, setting them on the path towards advanced predictive analytics approaches that will enable them to extend asset lifetimes and bring down the levelised cost of wind energy.