Education & Training
Siemens emphasizes safety at new training centre
By Mary Del
June 23, 2014 – Safety is the top priority at the Siemens Wind Service Training Centre in Orlando, Fla. That was the message Siemens executives relayed to the 31 journalists from 11 countries who attended its recent international press trip to Orlando. Manufacturing AUTOMATION was among the attendees.
The new, state-of-the-art wind service training centre, which opened in September 2013, provides highly advanced technical and safety training for Siemens’ installation and service technicians working at wind energy projects in Canada and throughout the Americas region.
The 40,000-square-foot facility, which is expected to host more than 2,400 trainees per year, features two full-size Siemens turbine generators weighing more than 100 tons each. The facility also includes three 30-foot-high climbing towers, ladder structures, electrical and hydraulic modules, and a maintenance crane to make training, safety and rescue simulations possible under realistic conditions.
The technicians are trained to perform services on wind turbines — both on and offshore — in all types of working conditions. Wind service training takes six months to complete — 4.5 months of on-the-job training, and six weeks of training at this facility, which combines classroom instruction with hands-on training. Safety is the main theme of all instruction.
Manufacturing AUTOMATION got a VIP tour of the $7-million facility, and witnessed some of the hands-on rescue training that takes place at the facility — imagine a man strapped to a stretcher, hanging from one of the climbing towers, where technicians are being taught advanced rescue techniques in a climb rescue simulator.
This type of training is essential to ensure that highly skilled technicians are able to safely provide the service and maintenance required to make sure turbines operate at peak production, availability and reliability levels.
Wind service is a “rapidly growing” industry with strong market potential, according to Tim Holt, CEO, Service Renewables, Energy Service Division, Siemens Energy.
Siemens currently provides service and maintenance for more than 3,000 installed turbines in the Americas region and 7,500 globally, with a combined generating capacity of 18 gigawatts. As more wind energy projects come online across the region, highly skilled technicians are needed.
“The right resources and proper training are crucial for meeting rapidly growing demand,” Holt said.
And because of this growing demand, globally Wind Service hires one new employee every day. With this growth comes challenges, including safety and zero-harm, hiring and training, and logistics (safely moving technicians to and from offshore turbines).
To address these challenges, Siemens relies on the latest innovations, including mobile solutions, modifications and upgrades, diagnostics, and drones, robotics and artificial intelligence. For example, said Holt, mobile solutions allow technicians to access documents on tablets, reduce average work order entry time and increase the number of turbines serviced monthly. Meanwhile, upgrades add value over the life of the asset. The company also has a remote diagnostic centre, which allows technicians to fix problems remotely, enable faster response times, improve fix accuracy, and allow for more electricity production. In addition, drones and robotics provide solutions for the future of blade inspections — allowing multi-rotor helicopters to more accurately detect issues in the turbine, and helping technicians to avoid dangerous blade inspections.
The Orlando facility is one of four Siemens wind service training facilities globally. The others are located in Brande, Denmark, Bremen, Germany, and Newcastle in the United Kingdom. All four training centres are certified by the Global Wind Organisation (GWO) as offering the industry’s highest level of safety training.