A well-ordered warehouse supplies the spare parts and tools needed to keep Thanet on track.
An engineering storekeeper is supposed to be a grumpy man in a brown coat who guards company supplies like a miser protecting his gold. For Bjarne Vad, Materials Management Coordinator at the Dunkirk site, the reality is rather different.
In fact, Bjarne and his two assistants delight in issuing all the spare parts and special tools required to keep the Thanet project running at full speed.
In their 1500-m2 warehouse are kits containing all the parts the assembly crews need to assemble and commission the turbines. Each kit, pre-packed in Randers, comprises 14 pallet-loads of equipment destined for a single turbine.
“We have the high-voltage cables that go inside the tower, as well as other electrical and optical-fibre cable sets,” Bjarne says. “We have control equipment, bolts for the tower, brackets for equipment inside the nacelles, hydraulic oil, adhesives, aviation lights, foghorns…. It’s a lot of stuff!”
The kit system works well, Bjarne says, with only occasional items needing to be ordered specially from Randers or bought locally. Ordering is done via the Vestas SAP system, while a simple system of spreadsheets keeps track of items as they are issued for use.
The warehouse also looks after all the lifting equipment needed to lift towers, nacelles and blades into place. “We have slings for loads up to 90 tonnes, shackles, spreader bars and lifting yokes, and special grippers for blades and tower sections,” Bjarne says. “We inspect items visually every time they come back to the stores, and then every six months we get them fully certified.”
The team issues limited quantities of personal equipment such as harnesses, as well as all the tools used by the subcontractors. “When I did this job in Belfast for the Robin Rigg project we issued tools one by one, and that was hard work,” Bjarne says. “At Thanet we have given the subcontractors two 20-foot containers with most of the tools they need, and we’ll take them back at the end of the job. That’s simpler for us, and I think they are taking better care of the tools too.”
“Sure, you have to be grumpy to be a storeman! We are always teasing each other. But we have a great working atmosphere here, and that’s important in getting the job done with a planned time frame and in a safe way."