Finding spare parts for aging or discontinued wind turbines is often difficult and time-consuming. This is especially true in Europe where wind farms are more fragmented and smaller than in the U.S. What’s more, in Europe, there are about 25 different OEMs with many models and types to service. Take Vestas for example. The wind industry is still dealing with its V25s, V27s, V80s, and other units less than 225 kW. It is no surprise that the turbines OEMs want to focus on their newer machines. How do
you find parts for those when the OEM shows little interest?
Several firms offer improved and upgraded electrical and mechanical components. The Netherlands-based Spares in Motion took another approach with a cleverly simple idea: It started business connecting buyers with the sellers of spare parts for wind turbines. The website went live and operational October 2016 “The idea has worked well. More recently we put procurement and distribution services online so buyers can get quotes on parts and labor or look for needed services,” says Managing Director Marc Huyzer.
The wind industry is in constant flux so to keep up, the O&M industry must offer new procurement ideas. “Not long ago, for instance, a buyer from a utility mentioned that it was sometimes difficult to find a single supplier for a single purchase, especially for a part that came from a sub-supplier, a company that makes the parts for turbines. Was there an online solution, and if not, could Huyzer’s firm take care of the whole deal with sub-suppliers? He agreed to look into the question. The web-based store now offers those services to buyers. “Wind industry’s maintenance people will be able to shop for basic materials such as grease, filters, and other things, and pay online,” he said.
In addition, the company added distribution services in early 2017. “The trading and procurement service is mostly off-line. So if a request comes in for 200 parts from a maintenance company, we’ll ask for quotes for the parts from several sources and find the best price in the market. It’s a little bit more work on our side but it’s what the market is asking for,” said Huyzer.
The idea for the service comes from the fact that tightening competition occasionally turns companies into poor sports. For instance, an OEM may accept a contract to service turbines from another OEM. If OEM 2 has a protective nature, it may put a price premium or long-lead time on requested parts. Huyzer says being the third party removes that information and poor sportsmanship from the business.
Filters are another sought-after product. “People often ask for filters and not the cheapest ones. They want several quality and price levels so they can make the best choice for their maintenance situation.” Distribution service and trading will launch at the end of April.
Filed Under: Bearings, Blades, O&M