Blog: Why Offshore Wind Farms Are Driving Product Innovation

Blog: Why Offshore Wind Farms Are Driving Product Innovation

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Advances in technology mean it’s now possible to locate windfarms further away from shore to reduce the visual impact on locals, and to harness greater energy by using bigger and more powerful turbines. But as the offshore industry continues to expand, manufacturers and engineers are being placed under scrutiny to ensure maintenance and downtime is kept to a minimum.

Due to the rise in competition from low cost companies in the Far East, industry prices are continuing to fall, potentially impacting the quality of the product, and the manufacturer’s reputation. This, combined with the rise in demand, has increased the importance of companies investing in research and development in-house.

To take advantage of the best geographical locations, engineers are constantly developing new technology to help place turbines at greater distances from the coast. Clearly, these locations make accessing the turbines for regular maintenance difficult, with some companies planning helicopter support and even offshore-based working to keep on top of the checks.

As the distance from the shore increases, weather and sea conditions can impact maintenance work, as harsh winds and waves can obstruct any journey to the machinery. The components in the turbine will also need to be able to withstand the harsher environment, or else require more regular checks and repairs.

These factors can increase the already high operation and maintenance costs, which stand at 25-30 per cent of the overall cost of the wind farm – by 2020, this looks set to increase by £1.2bn a year. To reduce the need for maintenance, repairs and replacements, the owners of these wind farms should work with manufacturers that deliver the highest quality products that have been subject to the strictest testing.

Recognising the importance of research and in-house development, we have recently invested in a new state-of-the-art testing facility to pursue maintenance free slip ring technology. It allows us to complete the most sophisticated forms of testing, simulating environmental conditions such as high temperatures and humidity. Providing this on-site testing, we hope to drastically reduce lead-times for our clients, while also manufacturing goods that continue to provide high performance and create less downtime.

BGB Innovation has now launched a new online shop, with a range of engineering solutions. For more details click here.

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