An efficient way to cut wind turbine maintenance costs.
Fluix has transformed the way we work. We’ve got control over all documentation, and it’s one of the best tools we’ve invested in.
RWE (Rheinisch-Westfälisches Elektrizitätswerk/Rhenish-Westphalian Power Plant) is a German energy company that generates and trades electricity. Originally founded in 1898, the company has since grown to include several global operations across the renewable, gas and coal sectors. All of RWE’s departments are working together to shape the future of energy across Asia-Pacific, Europe and the United States. The company’s ambitious future growth plans go hand-in-hand with their commitment to reduce their CO2 emissions and be climate-neutral by 2040.
RWE were actively seeking the right field operations automation software to help streamline field-to-office processes for specific teams working in their renewable energy division, where they employ over 3,500 people. Reliability is a crucial feature of software for renewable energy, so whichever solution RWE found, they needed to be able to trust that it would support their teams in the field and in the office.
Paperwork is a costly expense for all companies, but when you have technicians carrying paperwork up and down wind turbines, it becomes a nuisance that can hinder productivity. To cut paper-related costs and make life easier for their technicians, RWE aimed to digitize and standardize its processes as quickly and efficiently as possible
Difficulty in finding a software solution that would work for everyone
As a growing company with different global entities and departments, getting buy-in from everyone to move forward with one unified approach to document with the needs of different teams working in various locations around the world, including offshore.
No reliable way to streamline the wind turbine inspection process
The #1 challenge Fluix can help with is automating how O&M teams manage wind turbine inspections. Site managers are often left on their own to find a way to improve how inspections are conducted — and this is a problem because weather jeopardizes the ability to conduct inspections and ensure worker safety. Having a reliable system is crucial.
No way to submit documents remotely (offshore)
The ability to submit documents to the office from remote locations was one of the main drivers behind RWE’s digitization efforts. Waiting for engineers to return to the office with paperwork resulted in significant delays in document processing, as well as office staff having to work overtime, which was an additional cost to the company.
A short pilot project at one of RWE’s German wind farms proved that Fluix was a solution that could support the company and its teams on their digitization journey.
Following the success of the trial, Fluix was rolled out to another 6 wind farms with 493 turbines, and is also being tested by additional teams for future adoption.
The primary Fluix use case for RWE’s Renewable energy teams is the servicing and maintenance of wind turbines. They have a fixed pool of technicians working on each site, where they conduct wind turbine maintenance and inspections, as well as daily team meetings.
“Onboarding was a good experience. We were given time to try out the software and make changes. The company then moved forward with the product.”
Maintenance inspection forms and pre-use inspections
RWE made note of everything that they needed to be in compliance with for maintenance inspections, and then compiled an easy-to-read form for technicians to complete during each service visit. This approach ensures compliance and also gets the job done more efficiently. For pre-use inspections, technicians fill in a standard form. If they state in the form that part of the equipment is in need of repair, certain members of the site will be automatically notified, so they can register the defect and rectify the issue.
Data analysis to monitor effectiveness of service maintenance, and aggregation of components within the asset
40% of operating costs relate to annual service maintenance. With Fluix, analytics can be compiled from data gathered from a preventive maintenance inspection form and serve as evidence that technicians don’t need to do a task as often. For example, if the oil level is the same every year, they can skip this point in the next maintenance inspection, which saves them 30 minutes on that inspection alone!
Distribution of safety alerts and toolbox talk documents
Prior to everyone starting their work day, a toolbox talk document containing relevant safety information is sent to all technicians involved in the network, which they can each sign individually.
Safety observation cards
RWE uses Fluix to send safety observation cards in an offline environment. As soon as a Wi-Fi connection is available, the observation cards are submitted and certain team members are notified, so that they can upload it into the existing health and safety software.
Technicians need guaranteed access to documentation required for troubleshooting and servicing turbines (method statements, work instructions, risk assessments, etc). Also, the technician who is leading the work path will need to perform a pre-use inspection of all wind turbine maintenance equipment (e.g. crane lifts, bolt tensioners, etc.), and this is now possible to complete offline and queue for automatic submission as soon as the internet connection is back.
Automatic, unified document naming
Unified document naming helps technicians to save time on-site by eliminating the need for them to manually name documents. It also makes life easier for the back office team to reference and search for documents, by ensuring that there is standardized naming across all projects.
Geolocation on images as proof of locationg
Geotags and timestamps on images that are added to forms by technicians during inspections give greater transparency across all process and document journeys, as well as accountability for team members and a watertight audit trail.
“The fact that you can use Fluix offline is an absolute must for us. It means that technicians can work on a boat, from their car, or from the top of a turbine.”
RWE’s clients trust them to perform preventive maintenance inspections with the utmost precision, in order to keep turbine maintenance costs as low as possible. Here are the results RWE has achieved since adopting Fluix:
Greater communication and a streamlined document journey between office and offshore teams
With Fluix, RWE’s engineers can now complete all core paperwork onsite without internet connection, and be assured that the documents will automatically be sent to the office as soon as the connection is back. This has greatly reduced required overtime hours for the office team, who previously needed to wait for engineers to return paperwork to the office in-person. Fully-digital document journeys have also enforced accountability for individual tasks, and best of all, there are no more lost or illegible documents!
Replaced paper with digital forms, reducing daily work form completion time by 45% per-form
RWE’s engineers have shaved an incredible 9 minutes off the process of submitting each of their daily work completion forms digitally, via Fluix. Each daily work completion form takes just 11 minutes to complete, compared to 20 minutes for paper forms (9 minutes/45% time saved)
Reliable and actionable data insights at their fingertips
“The product makes data analysis easier! The ability to automatically export form data has saved hours of my time. Now we can easily reference data to monitor effectiveness of service and aggregation of components within the renewables asset.”
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