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Digitalisation is 'transforming the service business model'

HAMBURG 2018: Digitalisation, together with the deployment of drone and robots, is rapidly changing how wind turbines are serviced and maintained, according to Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) service chief Mark Albenze.

The industry has moved from requiring one technician per three turbines to one per 15 in recent years, he said.

SGRE signed an agreement with drone supplier SpySpecs on the opening day of the WindEnergy Hamburg (25 September). The agreement covers the inspection of 600 blades.

The drones are capable of covering a complete turbine rotor set in one flight of just 15 minutes without requiring the rotor to be turned or the blade to be pitched. In the past, this process would have meant the printing-out of hundreds of photographs for painstaking visual inspection by technicians, but sophisticated software now carries out this analysis.

The wind turbine service sector will look very different over the next few years as it moves away from energy-based products towards a more predictive and preventive maintenance approach, said Albenze.

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