The dynamic multi-site retrofit project for GE began in January 2020 and finally, by the end of September 2020, the long wait will be over. We deployed six ANEMOI Energy Services crews working on over 350 turbines for a total of 36,000 manhours. Our 25 technicians, working a 6-day week, showed extreme commitment and spread themselves across the six wind sites during the course of this project (Santa Rita, Torrecillas, Heartland, English Farms, South Peak, and Tahoka). There is no doubt about it, this project was filled with loads of anticipation and perspiration, but that’s what we thrive on. We make the impossible commonplace!
Challenges that were experienced on the project
Remarkably, for this project, challenges were few. The greatest obstacle was finding a way to keep all the necessary equipment in tip-top working order. Our teams made sure that our tool crib was kept busy. We found the most effective way to keep all of the working equipment in order was to make sure all of the tooling was rotated as there was a continuous need to replace equipment in need of some TLC. However, this most certainly did not affect the project for a lengthy period. With our expert ANEMOI team, overcoming this challenge seemed like a breeze.
Innovative decisions made by our team
As a team, we are proud of the process and outcomes resulting from the decisions made on better ergonomics. This was a lengthy project that required a number of units that were needing work. Our technicians worked around the clock to develop methods that would improve the performance of our team as well as deciding on better ways of using specific toolings involved in the job. Hats off to our incredible ANEMOI crew for thinking outside of the box.
Our results from the project
Something that was once just an aspiration for ANEMOI is now a successful large-scale project. Not only has this project allowed us to highlight and acknowledge our outstanding technicians at site level, but it has also carved a niche for us regarding retrofit projects. ANEMOI is looking forward to being involved in a number of upcoming projects that will give our test crews the opportunity to be involved in many more in the future.
For the safety of our clients in the wind turbine industry, Annemoi is issuing an alert in regard to recently updated climb assist safety standards. In an industry where climbing safety is of central importance, it’s vital that we all follow the notices and standards issued by ANSI (American National Standards Institute). ANSI has raised a concern regarding the compatibility of climb assist systems and Climbing Ladder Fall Arrest Systems (CLFAS).
Compatibility concerns in wind turbine maintenance
ANSI stated its concerns as follows: “Because of possible compatibility concerns, the competent person should consult the manufacturer of both the climb assist system and CLFAS to determine if the systems are compatible. Considerations include connections to the user’s harness, spacing between systems on the climbing ladder, assist level setting, number of users and test records.”
In order for climb assist systems to comply with the ANSI recommendation, they need to go through a battery of tests in an ISO certified laboratory. These tests have to assess the system’s performance in all possible use and misuse scenarios. Unless these tests are all completed, workers who use the climb assist systems are at risk of injury or death due to potential incompatibilities.
Recommendations for wind turbine workers
For operators in the renewable energy industry, as well as their maintenance service providers, we recommend the following:
- Be aware of ANSI’s concern of the compatibility between climb assist systems and CLFASs.
- Insist upon compatibility testing for any systems you are considering using, or are already using.
- Avoid using climb assist systems if you are not sure of their compatibility, and wait until they have been tested.
Awareness of these concerns, as well as transparent communication between users and manufacturers, are key to bringing all climb assist systems in line with ANSI standards of compatibility and ensuring safety throughout our industry.
Anemoi provides a range of wind turbine services throughout the wind energy industry. Contact us for more information on wind turbine safety and maintenance.
In the wind turbine industry, as in most others, there are two related, but distinct forms of advanced maintenance that have taken the place of traditional, reactive repair methods. Predictive and prescriptive maintenance both help owners, operators and repair workers to stay on top of potential problems and keep turbines running with minimal downtime. What is the difference between the two, and which one is a better option for the wind energy industry?
Predictive maintenance uses condition-monitoring technology to continuously track the performance of wind turbines. As the monitoring tools follow the ongoing function of the turbines, they are able to detect possible faults and failures before they occur. Technicians are then alerted to the potential failure and are able to do preventive maintenance, replacements and repairs before the failure occurs. This helps to eliminate reactive maintenance, decrease downtime, and ensure continued running of turbines.
Whereas predictive maintenance spots potential failures, prescriptive maintenance goes one step further by not only predicting problems, but recommending actions to take that will prevent potential failure. So, the essential difference between the two methodologies is that, while predictive maintenance warns of impending breakdowns, leaving technicians to decide what action to take, prescriptive maintenance both predicts the problem and tells maintenance workers how to prevent it.
Anemoi makes use of both methodologies in our services to clients in the wind energy industry. These tools and technologies enable us to stay ahead of problems and keep the turbines running without interruption. Whether a turbine needs a gearbox oil change, a tower cleaning or yaw and pitch oil changes, or any of the range of services we provide, predictive and prescriptive maintenance routines help us to carry out these tasks timeously. Contact us for more information on our wind turbine maintenance services.