Siemens Gamesa expands cloud computing to boost services

A new company-wide IT system will improve data collection and analytics, boosting predictive maintenance gains and spare parts efficiency, Alan Feeley, Chief Information Officer at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, told New Energy Update.

In November, turbine supplier Siemens Gamesa announced a new deal with IT specialist Infosys to implement a new digital infrastructure platform across Siemens Gamesa's global business.

Siemens Gamesa has installed 84 GW of onshore wind capacity and 15 GW of offshore capacity. The group has 69 GW of wind capacity under service contract.

The IT project will implement unified cloud storage and software systems across more than 50 countries, integrating systems created by Siemens and Gamesa before their merger in 2017.

Due to be completed by the end of 2020, the project will include “new state of the art applications across the entire service business," Feeley said.

New applications will include "next generation workplace services with enhanced self-help and self-heal capabilities enabled by AI and automation tools,” Infosys said.

One of the key components is the implementation of a company-wide hybrid cloud solution which uses a bespoke blend of public and private cloud technologies to optimize processing power, Feeley said.

“This is a key enabler for the implementation of a single global SAP [Systems Applications and Products] system that will manage our entire spare parts business,” he said.

Predictive gains

Siemens Gamesa’s contract with Infosys shows how OEMs are future-proofing their operations through major IT investments, an independent industry source told New Energy Update.

Margin-hit suppliers are expanding their services business to gain a greater share of the growing operations and maintenance (O&M) market. OEMs are using digital solutions and supply chain learnings to compete for own-brand and third-party service contracts.

In October, Siemens Gamesa agreed to buy 8.9 GW of service contracts from embattled turbine supplier Senvion as well as the German group's onshore blade manufacturing plant in Portugal.

The 200 million-euro ($221.9 million) deal expands Siemens Gamesa’s O&M portfolio and diversifies its geographical exposure with contracts that offer "long-term visibility and renewal rates that have historically been very high," it said.

                   Europe installed wind capacity by country (end 2018)

                                                              (Click image to enlarge)

Source: WindEurope, February 2019

The Infosys IT systems will help Siemens Gamesa move from preventative to predictive maintenance for its 90,000 turbines currently in operation, Feeley said. Unplanned turbine failures can cost up to $30,000 per turbine per year and cut production by up to a week a year, Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables said in research published in June 2019.

Siemens Gamesa's new data centre capabilities will improve data collection and analysis and drive stronger analytics, Feeley said.

Faster spares

Improved access to operational data should allow Siemens Gamesa to increase the efficiency of its spare parts ordering, the industry source noted. Combined with inventories, data analytics can significantly accelerate spare parts procurement.

Spare parts availability rates of over 90% may be possible, by applying learnings in analytics and automation gained from the aviation sector, Tushar Narsana, Managing Director, Supply Chain BPS at Accenture, told a New Energy Update conference in 2018.

Projects implemented by Accenture in the airline supply industry increased spares availability rates by more than half and cut inventory costs by 20%, Narsana said.

The new systems reduced aircraft on-ground time-- equivalent to unscheduled downtime-- by 35%, he said.

By Neil Ford