Winds of change in the turbine service industry


Ulrich Schomakers
Head of Multibrand Business Development at Vestas
Published on 27th November 2018

You can see it happening in many different industries; the globalisation and consolidation of services – in fact, anywhere where volume can bring savings without compromising on quality or safety. But how will this trend impact the wind industry?

It’s still a commonly held notion by many fleet owners that OEMs are the best at servicing their own equipment. And if they are too expensive or not available, then a local ISP is the next best bet. But this is changing: There’s a new paradigm emerging when it comes to global service across turbine brands.

What if you combined all the good things about an ISP – like flexibility, locally lower cost and a talent for listening to customers - with the benefits of a larger organization, with greater financial strength and the ability to manage fleet wide volume? An organization that offers highly-trained, experienced teams of engineers who work proactively on the root causes of failure; teams who can develop upgrades to improve the performance of a turbine - all while taking advantage of the cost advantages of global economies of scale. That would be the perfect fleet-wide service provider, right? 

Basically, that’s a description of what we want our Multibrand Service to be: A really strong service provider across all the different turbine platforms around the world. It’s ambitious, we know, but we’re already well on our way. We do it by seriously investing in the technology that’s necessary to provide the level of service our customers expect: From the development of new technical documentation, SCADA systems and other software solutions to offering continuous data analysis, technical optimization of individual turbines to increase energy output and the leverage of fleet wide data. Plus, of course, all the other synergies that come from servicing multiple turbine platforms in terms of physical parts availability.

With these advances, we can now offer full service contracts to our customers, where we confidently assume the full technical risk of a fleet. And the obvious advantages of this setup haven’t gone unnoticed by the market.

In Brazil this year, we took over the service contract from an existing OEM. Availability was very low – under 80% and the machines were in bad condition. By developing a recovery plan, putting the right team in place and investing in local spare parts storage, we increased the availability to above 97% after just 4 months’ operation. As you can imagine, we have now a very satisfied customer, who trusts us as a genuine partner.

And this is just one example. We’re servicing more than 8 GW of non-Vestas turbines in 17 countries and on five continents. Turbines from eight major OEM are covered by our services already, and we are adding continuously more turbine platforms to our service-portfolio.