Blog: A Reflection on Husum 2019
Thursday, 19 September 2019
The eternal question at HUSUM is: "Will you be returning next time?” For as long as I have been coming to this show people have moaned about it. Yes, it is difficult to travel to; the town is small and has limited accommodation and the infrastructure isn't quite up to what is needed for a world expo.
As I write this, I am sat in the airport sitting out a four-hour delay on Friday evening, Friday the 13th no less. It is the type of wait that makes you question your life choices. Beyond that there is a lot to reflect on and this year has been a new beginning for BGB and the cast of attendees looks markedly different from the HUSUM two years ago, myself included. Jamie McCollin, who joined BGB working in manufacturing as an apprentice at 16 is now a design engineer and has joined the trip to get customer and exhibiting experience. Personally, I think he did very well but my pitch of getting him to join the dark side of sales is looking like quite thin at the moment as he spends his Friday evening in Hamburg airport.
So why do we keep doing this to ourselves? HUSUM has a legacy in wind and as the industry matures, we tend to forget our humble beginnings and the technology’s relationship with nature. Nowhere represents this better than HUSUM and the surrounding countryside. The wind blows strongly by the coast and the turbines that spin and sway in the wind much like the corn in the fields beneath them have been busy this week. This year BGB stayed at a farm between Stadum and Leck (which is almost in Denmark!), which is how we learned the hard way that the corn is for the animals. As much as we have grown and matured as an industry there are still many problems to be solved to make this industry sustainable. In countries like Germany and England where the onshore development landscape is limited, how do we ensure that there are still enough opportunities to support a supply chain? I flicked through a brochure for a wind museum and I am reminded of the turbines that BGB used to supply, and still support from a legacy perspective.
There is no question that the market landscape is changing especially in the spare parts area of wind. People now know who the WTG OEMs buy their spare parts from, and they are becoming braver with their assets and shopping outside of the industry to reduce cost. I spoke to a tech who is using WD40 to lubricate gold wire slip rings instead of the expensive stuff at 1000 EUR a bottle and I think that is commendable. My favourite visitors to the stand (apart from my customers who are all delightful) are always technicians. The unfiltered feedback that they provide on how slip rings and brushes perform in the field and the challenges they face as they work on them is invaluable. It means that we can use this information to improve design for maintenance as we expand our product portfolio into GE, Enercon and Siemens as well as looking at old designs of our own.
So, will we be attending HUSUM in 2021? Definitely!!
Alex Pucacco - Wind aftermarket sales for BGB