Consultants provide technical assistance in a range of fast-changing disciplines such as engineering, environmental, financing, construction, and legal issues. Here are a few examples of what they provide.
Consultants have a lot to say, especially outside the realm of what OEMs perform, as in condition monitoring. Many turbines are put into service with only SCADA systems installed. Adding a conditionmonitoring package to track bearings and gear conditions takes some assistance, as will interpreting the graphs and traces provided by the equipment. A consultant can recommend appropriate equipment.
For site assessments, several consulting companies offer access to general wind data and say their software provide accurate reference data at an exact hub height for 80% of the world. The data is available for download.
In the realm of manufacturing, consider the experience of one European firm. An OEM client asked it to add more value to their components by taking responsibility for more of the manufacturing process. Most large metal parts cast by this manufacturer needed machining and painting. OEMs asked the company to add such steps to its scope of supply…if they wanted to continue supplying these parts and remain competitive. The foundry, however, had no experience in either task.
Manufacturing executives at the foundry briefly considered subcontracting to other companies. But here was a chance to add machining and painting to their capabilities portfolio. It would require an investment upwards of $26 million but could place them in position to receive more of this kind of work. The payoff would be to gain flexibility in the production required by clients, adapt quickly to changing design requirements, and gain cost efficiencies from performing several processes at one industrial site.
The metal casting company decided to move forward. To add machining, managers went looking for a consultant that could supply most everything, boring mills, clamping fixtures, machining operations, responsibility for executing the first components, crew training, and assurance of the first contract as well as launch into production. The company found a firm in the manufacturer of boring mills. The machine builder also manufactures heavy-duty mills, horizontal and vertical turning centers, and grinding machines, and was able to put together the equipment and training the casting company needed to fill out its operations.
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