09 April 2015
With a greater use of standard components and clearly defined interfaces, there is great potential for lowering cost in the wind industry, a new analysis from KK Wind Solutions shows.
The Lego brick – simple in design, yet with infinite possibilities for combinations – is the analogy that System Manager Michael Valentin Juhl from KK Wind Solutions uses when describing the advantages of modularization in wind power.
Having analyzed specific modules currently being produced for customers, he concludes that there is great potential in applying a control panel with similar features across platforms and customers.
“When we analyze and define the individual architecture of control panels including the functionalities and interfaces, it shows that functionality can be accommodated by for instance the same module or the same mechanical solution – despite variance in panels.”
Modularization starts with standardization, carefully choosing the base functionality on which to build, he explains. Using standard components and interfaces, keeping complexity and variance low, leads to clear cost-saving advantages in three areas.
Firstly, development cost is reduced, simply as individual modules are re-used across versions, limiting the need for design, verification and documentation.
Secondly, maintenance costs are lowered as with the number of spare parts, while service and quality are reduced.
And finally, material costs are reduced due to larger volumes and reduced number of parts needed in production, combined with a possible consolidation of suppliers.
To achieve these advantages, it is paramount that long-term thinking is applied in the design phase. it requires an active decision on, of course, product variance but equally important component and module variance, the building blocks. It is all about anticipating future developments:
“It is a matter of standardizing wherever it is possible and customizing only where it is necessary. That way, the cost follows the options and additional functions, rather than being part of the basic product. “
Today, the wind turbine industry has a long way to go in terms of becoming better at designing modular solutions throughout the entire wind turbine.
“We are seeing other industries working with modularization to a much larger extent than wind power, so this is a matter of industry maturity. However, the potential is so great that we as an industry cannot afford not to address this in a structured way.”
For more information on Modularization of electrical solutions for wind, contact:
Bjørn Steen Lauritsen
+45 51 32 91 88
Modularization - a building block for lowering the cost of wind power