User information for the operation of offshore Wind Farms

What connects a flexible maintenance concept with home-baked apple pie.

User information for the operation of offshore Wind Farms

I’ll bake you a cake. Surely you're looking forward to another apple pie. I enjoy it, and I don't need a recipe; I have the ingredients in my head and mix them together by feeling. It’s super easy, and I always get it right.

Oh crap! I have to go and do sport tonight because I missed it last week. And get up early tomorrow morning at 4:00 a.m., in order to arrive on time at our Berlin office.
Hmm, maybe I'll ask Fritjof, who certainly has both the time and desire to take over the baking.
Actually, I must have a recipe somewhere that my Mum had written way-back-when. Or was it just a list of ingredients?

"Hey Fritjof, I've planned a small assassination attempt on you."
"Oh yeah, shoot! It sounds exciting."

Lucky. He’s baking the apple pie! He doesn't need a recipe because he already knows how to do it. It also makes sense, because he is known for his delicious baking.

How did it go with the pie this time?
I won’t give it away. In any case, Fritjof has delivered an impressive work, and in good time.

I remembered this anecdote while preparing for a customer meeting, in which it was the recipe, sorry: The operation and maintenance information for an offshore Wind Farm. The operator had opted for a flexible maintenance concept.

And – what does this have to do with an apple pie? At first: nothing.

Except for the "flexible awarding of the contract" and the thing with the recipe. Because component lists and instructions are just as important to the content of Wind Farm documentation as the list of ingredients and the steps in the preparation with a pie recipe are. 

But the more complex the project, the more relevant the information becomes. And this is specifically required, as long as the role players lack many years of experience with a particular project.  

If "the pie is purchased from the bakery" (i.e. manufacturer maintenance), then the issue may remain understated.  Even with "home-baking" (i.e. maintenance provided by the Wind Farm operators), the damage caused by inaccurate documentation may need to be supplemented by an increased communication effort.

What if the management is self-governing, but parts of inspection and maintenance for: a.) wind turbines, b.) transformer platforms, c.) above water and d.) underwater structures, and e.) cabling will be awarded to different contractors?

Often, wind turbines are not all identical even at startup, and additional differences arise during their operation.

Our customer recognised the importance of having uniquely assignable, easily updateable user information that benefits from the financial advantages that come with a flexible operation and maintenance concept.

The subject of the upcoming meeting was therefore the question of how the Wind Farm operator could ensure the information sovereignty over their operating and maintenance processes and effective use of the technical documentation over the entire service life.

The following 5-point plan was finally the result of our meeting:

  1. Establish an information structure according to the operation and maintenance concept
  2. Define the requirements of the user groups for the technical documentation
  3. Ensure the identification of system components and the classification of documents
  4. update existing specifications for technical documentation
  5. introduce a user information review, editing, and approval process

The work can begin.


Manuel Welter
Blog post Manuel Welter