The fourth industrial revolution, or the digitization of manufacturing and assembly, has arrived. A key enabler of the fourth industrial revolution is the emergence and use of technologies for connecting people, equipment, and machines.
Tool management, securing bolted assembly processes, and collecting data is standard practice in factories across many industries today. However, in the wind turbine operations and maintenance sector, there are additional factors which make full digitization implementation a challenge.
Extreme work environments, time pressure, high demands on safety, and the need for documentation are all challenges that face the operation and maintenance sector every day. These challenges are not easy to handle.
Furthermore, the variety of bolted-joint designs available today result in many different types of bolting tools being used by workers. Hydraulic torque wrenches, bolt tensioning, electric nutrunners, battery tools, and even manual torque wrenches can all be found in use on site at the same time.
For all of these tool types there is a requirement for appropriate operator training, calibration process, and maintenance cycle monitoring; for the most part, documentation becomes a manual process.
The wind industry is becoming more global and more competitive every day. Along with that, wind turbine assembly and construction is getting more complex. Larger bolts in more extreme environments with longer product life cycles means there is a need for new bolting solutions that support the goal of maintenance-free bolted assembly.
To address these demands, the implementation of smart factory technology in the field-based environment is a critical path to take that will ensure the best quality products are manufactured, installed, and operated for the full product life cycle with reductions in both risk and cost.
Smart Connected Bolting solutions are helping to digitize the wind industry manufacturing, and thus, bring the smart factory to the field.
Furthermore, this will enable inter-connectivity and data analytics to be applied through the full value chain of OEMs. The benefits will be seen in all parts of the value chain, from manufacturing to operations and even beyond to partners and service providers – all of which drive faster product development, quicker problem resolution, and rapidly deployed process improvements across multiple sites or locations.
Technology enablers are allowing this to happen even today and products exist on the market that support the vision for Smart Connected Bolting in all environments. Atlas Copco together with other eco-system partners, continue to help the wind industry to navigate and speed up this exciting journey ahead. Ultimately, our goal is to make customers’ processes and operations quicker, safer, and smarter.
Discover Atlas Copco bolting solutions for the wind energy industry.