Leveraging product variability to streamline wind turbine development

Product: Teamcenter
Industry: Wind

The Teamcenter Product Configurator is an important part of our global PLM strategy. By leveraging a single source of truth for multi-disciplinary product configuration data across the entire product lifecycle, ENERCON is positioned to remain at the forefront of technological advancements in the wind energy industry.

Sebastian Heinzel , Product Owner, Senior Consultant PLM
ENERCON

Adapting to the dynamic changes in the wind industry

The wind industry is characterized by its unique challenges including dynamic market conditions, technological advancements and increasing customer demands for customization. ENERCON has been in the wind industry for over 35 years developing, producing, installing and maintaining wind turbines. To further streamline its operations and enhance variability management, ENERCON partnered with Siemens Digital Industries Software to adopt Teamcenter® software and specifically Teamcenter Product Configurator. Teamcenter is part of the Siemens Xcelerator business platform of software, hardware, and services.

ENERCON was looking to streamline manufacturing operations and enhance wind turbine development. The company faced numerous challenges in a highly complex and ever-changing industry, including needing customization, shortening lead times, ensuring up-to-date product configurations, and integrating computer-aided design (CAD) systems. By implementing Siemens’ solutions, the company achieves significant improvements in process efficiency, collaboration, and time-to-market, while also aligning its bill-of-materials (BOM) management and expanding its capabilities for future growth.

A new approach for managing product complexity

ENERCON faced several business challenges over the years including managing a highly complex product line, meeting customer demands for customization, reducing lead times from order to quotation, ensuring stakeholders work with valid and up-to-date product configurations and addressing limitations with their current SAP systems that don’t allow them to validate the digital twin.

ENERCON realized it needed to modernize its approach to product variability management. In 2018, it embarked on a search for a solution that would integrate a common product configuration definition across its design BOM (DBOM), engineering BOM (EBOM) and manufacturing BOM (MBOM), serving as a reliable source of truth for its entire value chain. Implementing Teamcenter Product Configurator allowed ENERCON to bring together variability data from their BOMs and consider the holistic value chain perspective. This effort coincides with ENERCON’s latest project, which is developing the E-175 EP5 wind turbine. This turbine has one of the largest rotor diameters for onshore turbines right now. ENERCON plans to continue applying this variability management approach in the development of the new evolution of their turbine, the E-175 EP5 E2.

Leveraging Teamcenter Product Configurator provided ENERCON with valid and buildable product configurations. ENERCON leveraged these capabilities to configure its products early in the development process, eliminating the need for downstream configuration changes in its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. With access to valuable data within Teamcenter, ENERCON’s engineers can easily validate the feasibility of different configurations, ensuring that all combinations were valid and buildable.

Configuration management will be integral to improving the company’s engineering change management processes. ENERCON plans to convert their operating model from a made-to-stock and engineer-to-order approach to a CTO+E approach. This model incorporates more repeatability and reuse into the business model while still supporting client customization. This will allow ENERCON to better control fast-track changes such as health and safety execution (HSE) topics, supplier discontinuity, part obsolescence and missing part topics. By implementing a CTO+E approach, changes would be able to be applied to any product variant at any time between revision packages. Using this engineering change management process with a common variability backbone, ENERCON will have the ability to adapt their BOMs and manufacturing processes quickly without jeopardizing the supply chain management processes in their plants.

“Using Teamcenter Product Configurator will help us implement a CTO+E approach, advancing ENERCON’s transformation to a project-driven company,” says Martin Gorges, head of PLM governance for ENERCON.

Using Teamcenter to improve collaboration and communication

ENERCON used Teamcenter Product Configurator as a digital configurator, enabling improved communication and collaboration among stakeholders across the development lifecycle. By working off a common source of variability information, everyone involved had access to the latest and most accurate data, eliminating confusion and discrepancies. This streamlined collaboration, enhanced efficiency, and reduced the risk of errors caused by out- dated or incorrect configuration data.

Implementing Teamcenter Product Configurator yielded significant results for ENERCON, enabling them to streamline internal processes. ENERCON successfully used a common configurator across disciplines, eliminating silos and improving process efficiency.

ENERCON is using Teamcenter Product Configurator to provide a digital configurator that serves as a common source of variability information. This facilitates seamless communication and collaboration among stakeholders.

“By understanding the product parameters that need to be accommodated, ENERCON will be able to respond to customer orders more quickly, shortening lead times and enhancing customer satisfaction,” says Sebastian Heinzel, senior consultant PLM for ENERCON.

Using the predefined rules and constraints within Teamcenter Product Configurator allowed ENERCON to deploy new features and implement changes in a more efficient and timely manner. Although ENERCON is still working to develop the E-175 EP5 wind turbine, the company has already experienced a significant reduction in development time. Additionally, consolidating variability management has simplified the value chain and ensured consistency in the product data.

Continuing to improve the manufacturing process

Looking ahead, ENERCON plans to further leverage Siemens solutions for MBOM, SBOM and digital manufacturing. By expanding its use of Siemens solutions, ENERCON is aiming to enhance its manufacturing processes, improve serviceability, and stay at the forefront of technological advancements in the wind energy industry. “We are training very hard to get to know everything about Teamcenter Product Configurator so we can utilize all of its capabilities,” says Sebastian Heinzel, senior consultant PLM for ENERCON.

ENERCON is in the concept phase of a PLM program that will bring both Engineering BOM and Manufacturing BOM configuration management into Teamcenter. This will enable them to deploy highly sophisticated discrete manufacturing processes best known within the automotive and aerospace industries. With the help of Teamcenter, ENERCON’s goal is to perform pre-planning up to 36 months in advance of manufacturing and work with schedul- ing agreements showing early demands to the suppliers. This will allow them to make changes to product variants holistically across all platforms, plants, systems and processes, including pre-planning. An integrated PLM configuration management solution also helps ensure stable high-volume production without line stops while avoiding the use of obsolete materials or high numbers of part stocks.

Implementing Teamcenter Product Configurator will be transformative for ENERCON’s wind turbine development processes and manufacturing operations. They have consolidated a diversified portfolio into a single platform, which allows them to handle more complex variability. Using Teamcenter Product Configurator has helped ENERCON get one step closer to going from a design-centric approach to a part-centric approach.

These results have positioned ENERCON for continued success in a rapidly evolving industry while continuing to take on new projects. ENERCON is looking forward to continuing to leverage Teamcenter to develop the E-175 EP5 E2 wind turbine that will be available in 2026 as well as other future next generation products.

Using Teamcenter Product Configurator will help us implement a CTO+E approach, advancing ENERCON’s transformation to a project-driven company.

Martin Gorges , Head of PLM Governance
ENERCON
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