Aberdeen’s James Fisher Asset Information Services (JF AIS) is offering a new digital twin technology solution for the offshore wind industry, which could revolutionise turbine inspection methods and expedite decision-making.
As offshore wind farms move further out to sea and turbines increase in size and power, operations and maintenance (O&M) costs are increasing. For every hour of downtime during the inspection and maintenance of a turbine, it can cost an operational offshore wind farm approximately £500 in lost productivity*.
Now, Aberdeen-based JF AIS as part of James Fisher and Sons plc, brings its powerful digital twin solution named R2S to the offshore wind industry, presenting asset data in a real-world context to save time and money, improve safety and enhance collaboration.
R2S’ origins are in public safety, where detailed pictures of crime scenes are taken and stitched together to be referred back to later. This means that if a crime scene is disrupted or detectives had an open-ended case, they could virtually ‘step into’ the original crime scene simply with a few clicks.
The cross-sector applications of the technology were soon realised as R2S delved into the oil and gas industry where, for over 10 years, its cutting-edge visualisation solution has increased efficiency, enhanced collaboration and improved health and safety of offshore workers at every stage of the operational life cycle. R2S has saved millions of pounds and thousands of man hours for its oil and gas clients.
At the end of 2018, R2S began exploring the world of offshore wind energy to investigate how well their technology could transfer across. With operational conditions and maintenance procedures similar to those of the oil and gas sector, the move to offshore renewables was the company’s next logical step. The 360⁰, information rich walk-throughs enable users to see a highly detailed record of any asset they are looking to inspect – in this case, employees can assess an offshore wind turbine with their feet firmly planted on dry land.
The R2S software acts as a window to all data available on a particular asset – integrating its own images with third-party data such as drone footage and laser scans to give a better representation of the whole asset. ID tags can also be included to provide detailed service reports on particular components of the asset and its walk-through functionality allows for seamless assessment of the asset in question.
It is expected that the staggering cost savings and reduction in man-hours exhibited in the oil and gas sector will likewise be experienced in offshore wind as the technology can reduce non-essential journeys and repeat travel. Additionally, the software allows for all the data surrounding an asset / project to be linked and contextualised in one place. This ease of access to information allows for R2S to be used for training and familiarisation purposes too.
In March 2019, ORE Catapult gave R2S access to our 7MW Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine to virtually map the asset. This provided R2S the opportunity to demonstrate its technology in a real-world offshore environment and was also beneficial for the Catapult. Aerial shots were used to show the surrounding area of the turbine to allow us to create ID tags of the asset’s external features. Combining these aerial shots with the R2S’ digital twin solution of the internal components provides the capability for our technicians across multiple locations to have access to view all the inner workings of the turbine and service records of individual components. Moreover, this software is key to our planning and decision-making when it comes to additional technology demonstrations at the turbine from other SMEs as they do not need to physically be on site to conduct initial observations. On completion of this project, R2S aims to have a demonstration of its technology at work that can be shared across the industry.
* the value of lost productivity is wind farm-specific and will depend on a number of factors, including turbine rating, capacity factor and contracted revenue per MWh.