Why is blade maintenance so expensive?

Blades are your largest main component; can you afford to save money in their maintenance?

I’ve seen it happen many times. Customer completes a blade inspection campaign. Delivers the reports to us, still feeling good about the results. Our technical team comes back with the repair hour estimation. Instead of a couple of hundred hours of superficial damages, there has been a few cracks in the trailing edge and the estimated hours have four digits. This is of course way more than budgeted, not the result that any owner would like to hear.

My name is Tomas Salmi. I’m the Sales Director for Bladefence Europe. My story with Bladefence started in 2018, when Janneniska, then the parent company of Bladefence sold MEWP units used to access turbines to Bladefence. I joined first as a Business Development Manager responsible of these units, but quickly got involved with the blade maintenance side of business and started as Sales Director in 2021. During this time, I have planned new products and procedures to Bladefence and seen almost all sides of the business first hand.

Therefore, my post goes straight to the commercial jugular that is the price of blade maintenance…

Let’s start by looking into the different actions that our back-office team does to ensure the best possible service product for our sales team to offer. Our field operations are very seasonal, usually bulk of the work taking place between May and October. For our management team the preparation usually starts in November when we start the HR push to hire suitable technicians for the upcoming season. Technicians vary in certification and skill, and we need people that have special ones like carbon fibre repairs for anti-icing systems or experience in using the latest state-of-the-art suspended platforms. Last year our team interviewed, in person, over 200 candidates from 16 different nationalities in Europe alone. These persons were tested for their capabilities, language skills and know-how during a campaign that lasted for more than 6 months. 

At the same time we carefully updated over 40 work instruction documents, and reviewed all the procedures that are required for our ISO 9001 and 45001 certifications. Our logistics department did maintenance for all the access equipment, furbished our vans to field ready state, and ordered just the right number of materials to be stocked in our warehouse. All this just to make sure that once the season begins, we can complete as much work as the limited season allows.

“Ok, Tomas. I understand that there are many unknown factors to your service production besides the techs in nice PPEs on-site. But what can be done to avoid the situation in the beginning of the post?”

Make sure that blade maintenance is performed every year throughout the lifecycle of the turbine. First key is knowing the condition of your blades, so external and internal inspections are recommended annually, sometimes even bi-annually. Second key is reacting to the developing issues as early as possible. Usually, my original unwelcome surprise is waiting for the owner that has not done blade maintenance in a few years. Third key is not being cheap while choosing your service provider. Blades are your largest main component; can you afford to save money in their maintenance? Whether you are looking for a partner for long term service agreement, or just the best possible service for a single campaign, our sales teams in both Europe and North America are ready discuss the best solution for your blade maintenance needs.

Tomas Salmi, Sales Director at Bladefence Europe

Tomas Salmi

Sales Director, Europe
+358 50 405 9928
February 1, 2023