Lufthansa know-how makes wind turbines efficient

Lufthansa Industry Solutions knows how to digitize maintenance and bring different players together. The Lufthansa Group subsidiary now also offers this knowledge to wind farm managers in the form of the Windpulse platform with the Windpulse4MRO mobile service app.

Airplanes and wind turbines have a lot in common. They should stay in motion as far as possible, and above all, should be failsafe. They are routinely inspected, maintained and repaired. All this should be done cost-effectively and without long downtimes, because this is the only way aircraft and wind turbines can earn their money. For many years, Lufthansa Industry Solutions has supported its sister company Lufthansa Technik in ensuring cost-efficient maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) processes with the help of IT. The valuable know-how that has grown over the years can also be transferred to the automotive, transport, logistics, energy and other industries. And this is precisely what the Lufthansa subsidiary, which has been independent for two years, does.

Sascha Jevremovic develops and taps new projects and industries for Lufthansa Industry Solution in Hamburg. He noticed the similarity of the task to aircraft and wind turbines as early as 2015. He then asked himself how operating managers, operators, service companies and experts could coordinate themselves as efficiently as possible. How does everyone get the information they need for their work? “What we were looking for was, simply put, a kind of Business Facebook for wind turbines that connects all those involved in operation and maintenance,” says Jevremovic, describing the initial idea.

In the meantime the idea has become a reality. Windpulse is conceived as a ‘collaboration platform’ with the aim of making digital data exchange available to all market participants in wind energy, taking into account data sovereignty and security. The platform enables and offers digital services and products, one of which is Windpulse4MRO, a mobile service app with back-office functionality that has been available for Apple OS devices since September 2016. In the beginning, the focus was on the processes of the operating managers. With Windpulse, the operating manager can recognise at any time when which work and inspections are due on wind turbines and can then supply the service provider with all the necessary technical and location data, including detailed work instructions, via the app. Experts who want to evaluate the performance or value of a wind turbine have the entire maintenance and repair history of a wind turbine in front of them. This saves time and money.

The journey from the idea to the functioning product Windpulse4MRO was mastered within only nine months. In order to develop the platform and the digital services and products for wind energy, Lufthansa Industry Solutions involved competent partners. “During this period, we were in close contact with two major wind turbine operators to understand their individual business processes and not just scratch the surface. It is always our aim to develop tailor-made and tailor-made solutions for our customers from different industries,” reports Jevremovic.
The wind farm manager energy consult, with locations in Cuxhaven and Husum, was at that time one of the two operating managers who supported Lufthansa Industry Solutions as an object of study and initiator. Today, energy consult uses wind pulses to control the logistics of around 650 wind turbines. Henning Wegner, Managing Director of energy consult: “Wind farm management today is above all interface management. Therefore, the importance of wind pulses was obvious to us from the start.” The demand for wind pulses is constantly increasing, reports Jevremovic, who is currently in negotiations with various industry participants.

But where valuable and confidential data is stored, data security must also hold true, especially with cloud solutions. With decades of experience in the particularly high security requirements of aviation, Lufthansa Industry Solutions is a top expert in information security, says Jevremovic, adding that Lufthansa works very closely with Microsoft on data security. “Security is the basis for data exchange and collaboration.”
The success story of Windpulse is still in the early stages. As Jevremovic shows, in the long term, wind pulses should be an essential part of a comprehensive platform for digital data exchange, collaboration and services with different players. “We are open to discussions with other players about further potential cooperation and the integration of other solutions,” emphasises the IT expert.