News Release from Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH


Wind Industry Profile of

WindEnergy Hamburg – Service sector growing fast

Full power with industrial climbers, camera drones and diving robots

Jessica Neumann is hanging in the air or, more precisely, from the 45-metre rotor blade of a wind turbine, nearly 80 metres above the ground, in the North of France. Attached only with ropes and a belt, she is checking the surface of the high-tech blade for cracks, and repairing it where necessary. She is a freelancer, the only woman in the service technician team for Windigo, a specialist service provider for the wind industry, and one of the very few women in this male domain. The service sector of the wind industry is gaining more and more importance today. As the number of installed turbines increases, MRO is a fast growing business for specialist service companies, as it is for the manufacturers themselves. The range of services goes from monitoring the huge gearboxes to industrial diver operations in the Atlantic. The new business models and methods in the international market are presented at WindEnergy Hamburg 2016. The world’s leading wind industry expo, to be held from 27 to 30 September, features more than 1,200 companies showcasing their innovations for onshore and offshore, many of these in the service sector.

The job demands strength, specialist skills and fitness from everyone doing it, whether male or female. But Jessica Neumann (31 years old) would not want to change her skyworker job for any other – “I would find an office job much more tiring,” she says. “The best thing is when I’m hanging near the top of the rotor blade, then I can use a break in the work to take in the world around me – that is the greatest gift”.

Windigo is an example of a whole series of companies that are clearly benefiting from the growing importance of the service sector in the wind industry. “Demand is so great that we urgently need more skilled people so that we can offer a solution for all the inquiries we get,” said Ingo Laabs, Managing Director of Windigo. The company presents the whole of its portfolio at WindEnergy Hamburg, from assessment and repair of rotor blades to maintenance of service lifts in towers, and also presents itself at the Recruiting Day Forum.

New services for high-tech rotor blades

The impressive rotor blades of wind turbines are a good example of the breadth of services available. There are many ways of checking their status before people have to get “in the ropes” to inspect them. Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) or drones for blade inspections has become a main trend. It is offered in the market as a single expert service, or in a package together with rotor blade repair, requiring classic rope access or service platforms. WindEnergy exhibitor Vspect offers both inspection and repair services, whereas Reetec has specialized in internal and external blade inspections, blade repair and blade exchange.

Independent Danish blade inspection specialist AtSite uses two different inspection methods. One involves drones for which AtSite teamed up with leading Swiss drone specialist Visual Working. “During the past three years we inspected over 2000 offshore turbine blades with UAV’s”, said CEO Mads Rasmussen: “One team can inspect on average over 10 turbines a day, and we recently inspected 80-metre offshore blades in less than 7 minutes each. Both methods can be expanded by close-up visual inspections.” AtSite will display a full-scale drone at its WindEnergy Hamburg booth.

Germany’s Gebr. Käufer Befahrtechnik is a market leader in the design and manufacture of compact custom-engineered rotor blade access platforms, and they are deployed for onshore and offshore. At WindEnergy Hamburg Käufer will display a full-scale platform for technicians and equipment.” “We will explain to visitors our latest add-on module that creates a full weather-protected working environment around the blade during composite repair activities”, said general manager Dirk Käufer.

Minimising downtime

Vestas has Special Projects Teams assigned to execute complex main component exchange operations, which include offshore blades and gearboxes with much attention to cost-effectiveness, worker safety and minimizing turbine downtime. Vestas this year completed the acquisition of German independent service provider Availon, known for its in-house turbine technology upgrades development and providing solutions for specific models aimed at reducing O&M costs and LCOE. Both WindEnergy Hamburg exhibitors will inform visitors about their combined service offerings.

Another major service trend is in conducting in-board repairs of main components especially gearboxes and generators whenever possible, and instead of full component exchange. Leading WindEnergy Hamburg exhibitors Eickhoff, Moventas and Winergy offer such specialized in-board repair services, including complicated planetary gearbox stage repairs. Multigear manufactures new and reconditioned gearboxes, and offers upgrades for older turbine models. Gamesa develops full system upgrades for older (third-party) turbine models, involving for instance rated power increase enabled by new controls and switching from fixed-speed to variable-speed rated. This Hamburg exhibitor will also inform visitors about lifetime extension, (third-party) main component retrofits and upgrades, and about the Gamesa Repair Centres for smaller components.

Diving robots for inspection of foundations and marine cables, and clearing mines

Other examples of the great bandwidth of services can be seen in the maritime sector. Steel substructures including Monopiles, Jackets, Tripods and Tripiles finally require regular inspections. Remotely operated vehicles (ROV’s) are increasingly used as an alternative for divers in operations ranging from substructure structural and surface condition inspections, J-tube and cable-seal inspections, to scour (rock-fill) visualisation. An additional area is removal of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in coastal waters before actual wind farm construction start, said commercial manager Alexandra Mills of UK based ROV contractor ROVOP: “The deployment of ROV’s instead of divers is more safe, allows continued operation for longer periods, including with poor visibility and strong sea currents. The extended operating window results in substantial overall cost reduction for owners/operator.” ROVOP will display in Hamburg a full scale ROV at its booth.

The WindEurope Summit also includes discussion of service subjects such as the use of drones, and solutions for cost reduction. The Conference is at CCH (Congress Center Hamburg), for the first time in parallel with WindEnergy Hamburg. Information on the programme is shown at https://windeurope.org/summit2016/conference/programme/

WindEnergy Hamburg and HUSUM Wind

WindEnergy Hamburg will be held at the Hamburg Fair site from 27 to 30 September 2016. This leading international expo for onshore and offshore wind reflects the global market and the whole of the value chain. It is the meeting point for decision makers from all parts of the world. HUSUM Wind will be held at the German North Sea coast from 12 to 15 September 2017 in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, which is a front runner in the wind industry. The focus of HUSUM Wind is the German speaking market. It is the traditional meeting point for intensive exchanges within the industry and for practice-oriented value added. For more information, please visit the websites windenergyhamburg.com and husumwind.com

From 27 to 30 September 2016 at the Hamburg Messe Fair site

WindEnergy Hamburg
WindEnergy Hamburg, trade, fair, Hamburg

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