Germany: Siemens Presents Solutions for Maximum Efficiency

Germany: Siemens Presents Solutions for Maximum Efficiency

Manufacturers of wind turbines (OEM) have to cope with a market stressed by serious overcapacity and ongoing price erosion. To ensure sustainability, wind turbine manufacturers can count on standardization and platform solutions from Siemens offering them a vast potential for rationalization.

“We make it possible for manufacturers to develop wind turbines as modular platforms and achieve large-scale industrial production,” explains Dr. Dan Fodor, Head of Vertical Market Management for Wind Power in the Siemens Drive Technologies Division. “Basically, we base our value proposition on industrial platforms that help manufacturers to reduce costs while boosting quality and reliability at the same time.”

Siemens offers to wind turbine manufacturers a comprehensive portfolio of products and systems ranging from automation, visualization and control technology, communication and energy distribution systems, switchgear, pitch & yaw drives as well as energy generating systems. In addition to that, the company offers security and fire protection systems.

Rounding off its complete portfolio of products and systems, Siemens offers a comprehensive service program for wind turbines covering their entire life cycle. Overall, the optimum interaction between products and systems increases the efficiency and reliability of the wind turbine.

“The auto industry leads the way when it comes to packaging or modularizing systems,” says Dan Fodor from Siemens. However, the premise is a common platform for different turbines, many common components as well as unified and digital development tools. “Based on the experience from other industries we’re confident that companies applying this strategy can save between five and ten percent of their costs,” Dan Fodor explains. Siemens supports this strategy with integrated systems and platforms based on solid state technology and experience in the wind industry.

Siemens’ value proposition is a triple integration: the horizontal system integration comprises functional or physical integration of the drive train including gear unit, motor and converter plus the corresponding energy distribution along the main current circuit. The vertical system integration involves automation, IT and security systems as well as the drive system and sensors adapted to the information flow.

The third stage goes well beyond that in the development phase of the turbine. This stage of the integration completes the drive train with service, products and software for planning, development, construction, commissioning, and operation.

The first two stages essentially determine the turbine topology and are both decisive for the integration of all systems and components within the turbine and consequently for achieving the expected operational performance.

Today’s focus targets the economic efficiency of turbines and priorities have shifted to the cost-effective and simplified production of wind turbines. The idea now is to limit the number of components used for production and to integrate different components in a system or solution.

Siemens provides (as part of its Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) package) product-tested and certified standard components as well as standardized tools. This increases the modularity and transparency reducing at the same time the error probability and risk.

Relying on the use of standard components and systems enables Siemens to reduce the number of components in a wind turbine by more than half. Additional use of plug-and-play modules facilitates replacements without affecting other components. All of this limits the need for resources, time, and money while enhancing availability. “Initial pilot runs prove that we’re on the right track,” says Dan Fodor.

Designing a wind turbine involves an integrated approach of design and construction work materials, processes, assembly, and installation. “If you wait until production is up and running, before you address any issues in the production process, you’ll never be able to fully benefit from its cost-cutting and improvement potential,” explains Dan Fodor.

Tools which are part of the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) tap the potential for improved productivity and efficiency in the early stages of production design and production planning. Siemens offers also the right tools and opportunities for optimizing the turbine operations. They include software for the simulation and subsequent optimization of wind turbines.

The simulation program offers actual operation scenarios including control functions for operating the real turbine parallel to the simulation model. This helps to optimize costs while providing an opportunity for the early analysis of turbine behavior even in initial bidding stage.

Integrated product development and production processes are invaluable in eliminating design and production errors while minimizing production time and costs. This is a Siemens value proposition that is already well established in other industries.

“Based on the outcome we’ve seen in other industries and taking into account the system’s overall life cycle, we’re confident that companies applying industrial software to virtually simulate and optimize the production can cut between five and ten percent of their costs,” concludes Dan Fodor.


Press release, September 20, 2012; Image: Siemens