A global provider of wind power solutions has ensured the safety of its workers and products by teaming up with a leading health and safety specialist.
Siemens Gamesa called in Workplace Worksafe to provide an innovative solution to a problem that was costing the company millions of pounds a year.
The challenge surrounded the transportation of wind turbine inverters. Traditionally these had been transported up the turbines in cardboard boxes strapped to a pallet or traditional flight cases.
For every 5 inverters that went out, 3 would be returned damaged.
The challenge was to make a product tough enough to withstand the environment and application, but not to damage the component or the tower during lifting.
Working in partnership with Siemens Gamesa for five years, Workplace Worksafe developed the prototype DELTAsafe critical component bag with the specific task of transporting safely the Delta Module inverters used on Siemens Gamesa offshore and onshore wind farms.
Siemens Gamesa subsequently introduced a new inverter for the newer models of their turbines, with Workplace Worksafe being asked to help with the transportation solution for the full transportation cycle due to the success of the DELTAsafe bag. This led to the company developing a new critical component bag for the company called SiTsafe.
The critical component bags reduce the need for human intervention. Workplace Worksafe developed a way in which the product could be lifted using an innovative system which complimented the way the teams work offshore, and also reduced some of the workload.
Rhian Parry, Founder and Managing Director of North Wales-headquartered Workplace Worksafe, said: “Utilising our extensive knowledge of health and safety legislation, and by looking at the problem in a unique way, we came up with a solution that protects products like we would people.
“The solution is really innovative and simple, but a great demonstration of how logical health and safety solutions can bring huge benefits to the user, not only in actual use, but in cost saving benefits. Even more important, it makes the job a lot easier and safer to do because we have removed a lot of risk involved with the task.”
The benefits of using the Sitsafe and Deltasafe bags include:
- Eliminates over 90 per cent of manual handling requirements;
- Complies with LOLAR regulations;
- Saves a minimum of 8-man hours per turbine – time that can be reassigned to other tasks;
- Saves millions of pounds in warranty claims;
- Saves up to £100,000 per replacement tower on offshore turbines;
- Provides protection for the turbine as well as the component being transported.
In the two years that Siemens Gamesa has been using the Sitsafe bag, there have been zero warranty claims due to damage during transportation. This is despite the bags being used globally as far afield as Australia, the United States, Germany and the UK.
Previously, the company would have had 3 in every 5 components returned damaged and needing to be replaced or fixed.
This compares to zero damaged components during transportation as a result of using the Sitsafe bag – representing a huge saving to Siemens Gamesa.
Rhian, whose company is based in Ruthin, added: “Sitsafe bags have also far exceeded expectations in terms of life expectancy.
“We initially told customers they could expect our bags to be robust enough to sustain the full transportation loop on 10 separate occasions.
“However, in some cases, our bags have been used over 100 times and are still being used 4 years after they were first used to transport the components. This contrasts with the old-style cardboard boxes which were single use only.”
All the company’s critical component bags are fully compliant with strict IEC standards set by the manufacturers of inverters, covering a range of requirements including vibration, temperature, compression and impact range.
Guy Dorrell of Siemens Gamesa said: “The team at Workplace Worksafe rose to the challenge of finding an innovative and practical solution that has transformed the way we safely transport our wind turbine inverters.
“We were particularly pleased that the solution came from a dynamic SME based in Wales and led by a successful and driven female entrepreneur who is extremely passionate about providing excellent customer service.”