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Essential question for your predictive maintenance supplier: ‘Can I maintain my wind turbines myself’?

A good PdM provider should have the capabilities and technology to support an asset owner that wants to bring its maintenance performance in-house. Digital technology means this can now be done step-by-step, with asset owners gradually taking on more responsibility for predictive maintenance as their understanding and capabilities grow.

At one end of a sliding scale between outsourced and in-house monitoring, companies that want to take O&M responsibilities fully in-house will need a team with extensive experience of applying predictive analytics to monitor the condition of assets. Organisations that can adopt a do-it-yourself approach will have personnel with in-depth experience of using predictive analytics in industries where the technology has long been used and well understood. This past experience can be transferred to the predictive maintenance of the owner’s wind energy assets.

For less experienced owners and teams, relying on an experienced predictive maintenance partner to monitor assets remotely, predict failures and make recommendations for the most suitable course of action, may well be the only option available. Such an approach will likely be more resource- and cost-efficient, at least in the short term.

Over time, as they work with PdM providers, onsite teams will gain familiarity with the  technologies and techniques involved. This growing knowledge will build on the familiarity the onsite team with the assets that are under their care, and over time they may be able to take on more of the monitoring and predictive maintenance work.

A team that is already familiar with some form of condition maintenance technology, may already have a good basis from which to develop their understanding and experience of predictive maintenance technology. In this case the in-house team will find it easier to pick up the skills needed to take on predictive maintenance work. Overtime, after working alongside experts from a predictive maintenance supplier, the on-site team will develop less need for close support, and the transition of responsibility from an outsourced team to an in-house team occur more quickly.

However, for the transition to a ‘do-it-for-me’ approach, with a heavy reliance on the technology supplier, through stages of increasing levels of monitoring independence for the in-house team, it is essential for a predictive maintenance provider to be comfortable with this close level of collaboration and able to offer clients a tailored approach.

Central to moving towards a DIY approach as an asset owner or operator is investing in a powerful digital platform for monitoring and analysis that can increase the efficiency of the maintenance programme ten-fold. Whereas asset owners and operators are focused on producing energy in a rapidly evolving wind energy market, they will need a strong partner, knowledgeable in the latest developments in AI, machine learning and digital technologies to ensure the effective long-term implementation of asset monitoring and the future transition to a DIY monitoring strategy.

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