The Future Of Platforms

Online Editor

Olaf Seidenfaden showcases a new approach to maintenance

Designed to bring digitalisation to platforms with modern features allowing components, mechanics and maintenance workers to interact in ways most efficient: the remote maintenance system called LiMain (short for Liebherr Intelligent Maintenance).

The new system will enable the operator to be completely in charge of the platform without being on site. Its makers believe it has enormous potential to improve and simplify work on offshore wind platforms and, consequently, change the way we think about maintenance fundamentally.        

Up to 75% less mobilisation and up to 50 fewer man-days on platforms are possible. As a result, platform owners will save immensely on resources – spanning everything from personnel and material through to transport.

The foundation of LiMain is its modular system architecture consisting of four modules: Automatic Greasing; Condition Monitoring; Predictive Maintenance; and Remote Maintenance Cycle. The package enables operators to determine the scope of intelligent maintenance that meets their particular needs.    

What Do The Four Modules Do?

Automatic Greasing will continuously check critical components, automatically lubricate them when needed, even in complex installed positions.

The Condition Monitoring module enables the user to benefit from sensor technology: detailed data about the crane as well as its components is monitored in real-time, delivering an impressive level of insight.

Predictive Maintenance puts ad-hoc data into context, building on decades of experience from the construction of over 1,000 offshore cranes. The module serves as the foundation for an optimised product and component lifecycle.

Finally, the Remote Maintenance Cycle represents the combination plus interconnection of all the aforementioned models: the crane is actively moved but semi-automatic maintenance and self-diagnosis is enabled.        

Influencing Tomorrow’s Platform

The economy is immensely relying and profiting from things such as Big Data so when “predictive maintenance” can provide knowledge of decades of Liebherr crane construction, the advantages are remarkable, especially when intertwined with live-data from Condition Monitoring.

Therefore, this new approach will not only help to understand how components work most effectively or when they will require replacement. Said information will also champion development to build better components in years to come besides enhancing accuracy and safety when it comes to transport, customer care or interaction between parts and personnel.   

Essentially, LiMain decreases the need for service people on platforms while shortening the time spent there. Simply put, when an engineer flies to an installation far away to do a check-up, LiMain can inform them beforehand if, for example, a part needs replacement. Thus it ensures that all parts are available. Therefore, the machine has no unnecessary downtime and additional travel and working time is not needed. What is more, without extra travel, the carbon footprint is lessened.          

“We believe that LiMain and its compelling modular system is priceless. It enables users to act whenever, wherever. Ideally, users will only have to visit their platform once during an entire year; this represents an extraordinary business advantage for platform owners,” says Stefan Schneider at Liebherr.

Operators that can maintain wherever they are can work more independently of time and space. As a fully digital, semi-automatic and remote maintenance system, LiMain embodies the future workplace in a digitalised world. Accordingly, it empowers platform owners to remotely take decisive action anytime without having to “go there”. Digitalisation is also always about security, which Liebherr has focused on as well. Because of a VPN-encryption embedded into a tunnel solution, LiMain and the crane data is protected against access for third parties.     

Considering The Market’s Future      

All of this demonstrates that the new approach will enhance crane availability. More importantly, it will lower operational costs (OPEX), which is key for platform owners because it defines their respective profit margin. According to market experts, the installed capacity will be more than sixfold in the global offshore wind market and the individual size of wind turbines is predicted to grow to up to 20MW until end of this decade, so in the long run, offshore wind will play a major role. Yet the hunger for energy consumption is vast, so “old” energy forms still satisfy a huge demand.           

Nevertheless, new “green jobs” are available – attractive, for example, for younger job beginners. Moreover, individual comfort for skilled personnel workers is increasingly important. With the new maintenance system, people can be miles away when controlling components, even from their hometowns – with these advantages platform owners may win young talents in their need for personnel. And in a growing market, personnel means market share. LiMain is setting out to pave the way to the future of the platform market. Ultimately, platform owners can save on resources while maintenance is made easy.

Olaf Seidenfaden is with Liebherr

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