Business Development Hungary: Cost savings by digitalisation at the largest Hungarian exporter

Author / Editor: Zsolt Meszaros, editor in chief / Franziska Breunig

The Veresegyház factory of GE Power increases its efficiency with its own digital technology. The company manufacturing gas turbine powerplants and accessories, contributing 4% to the gross Hungarian export, has decreased its maintenance costs by 25% in the recent four years with the help of predictive technologies.

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Gas turbine powerplants by GE Power.
Gas turbine powerplants by GE Power.
(Bild: www.ge.com)

The significant increase has been achieved by the introduction of pre-emptive maintenance technologies based on sonic analysis of plasma guns used in production. Through digital innovation, the company has tripled the life span of the highly valuable plasma spraying equipment, by which they blow ceramic powder on the turbine parts manufactured by the company at 14000 degrees Celsius, that is, a temperature equivalent with that of the solar surface.

Changes by digitalisation

The 125 year old GE is undergoing significant changes, as a result of which it will be transformed from a conventional machine- and equipment manufacturing company to a digital industrial company. Goal of GE is to raise its annual price revenue by 6 billion Dollars to 15 billion dollars by 2020 through digital services based on data analysis.

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„The digital restructuring of GE involves its structure as well as global and local market presence. GE will focus in the future mainly on industries and products in which both the manufacturing procedure and the product itself can be digitalised.” – said Joerd Bauer, president of GE Hungary. „GE has created about 2500 high value added jobs backed up with digital services in Hungary in the recent two years, with an investment of 33 billion Forints. Our goal is to increase our added value by IoT solutions based on data analysis and by that, to support the reorientation of the nation’s economy to that of innovation based economy.”- added Joerg Bauer.

One of the best examples of the restructuring of GE into a digital company is the Veresegyház plant of GE Power operational since 2001. That is the largest plant of GE Power outside the United States. The more than 2000 strong GE Power Veresegyház manufactures small and medium power gas turbine powerplants and parts. Joint capacity of the powerplants manufactured annually is nearly 2 GW, which equals with the present capacity of the Paks nuclear powerplant.

The advancement and the value of the manufacturing technology of GE Power Veresegyház is well demonstrated by the fact that 50% of the maintenance costs of the plant operating 120 pieces of machining equipment is incurred by the continuous maintenance and replacement of six high-value plasma spraying apparatus. With the plasma sprays, a ceramic shielding layer is blown to parts of gas turbines exposed to high temperatures.

“Thank to digitalisation, by today it has become very cheap to collect, process and analyse data gained from the operation of high value machinery and equipment. This brings enormous change to the former rather inaccurate maintenance practices based on statistical models.”- said Gergő Lencsés, plant manager of GE Power Veresegyház.

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Reducing maintenance costs

In the frame of the recently closed development, GE Power Veresegyház measured the operation of the plasma spraying apparatus with sonic analysers and noise levels typical of normal and pre-malfunction operation have been defined on the basis of the measurements. Engineers of the factory have tripled the life span of the plasma spraying machinery by altering operation parameters based on measurement results.

This single digital development, based on data analysis, in itself has reduced maintenance costs by nearly 100 million Forints.

Key to the restructuring of GE is Predix, the world’s first and so far only cloud based platform developed for the industry, which was introduced by GE in February, 2016. Predix helps GE itself and GE customers in energetics, healthcare, automotive, chemicals, transport, oil and gas and machine industry to improve operation and production efficiency of their high value assets by solutions in data analytics.

There is enormous potential in increasing productivity. According to GE’s calculations, if all European costs were reduced by a mere 1% by the means of increasing efficiency and productivity, the joint GDP of the EU could grow by 2,8 billion Euros by 2030, which equals with the quarter of the present size of the Euro-zone.

This article was first published onmaschinenmarkt.international.

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