Blair Fox is an innovative electricity company that builds, owns and operates wind farms. They provide renewable energy to farmers and agriculture companies by rejuvenating used wind turbines and deploying them on commercial properties in Western Australia.
The company recently purchased and dismantled twenty wind turbines in Italy. The turbines were transported to Western Australia, refurbished and installed at the West Hills wind farm.
Blair Fox supplies electricity at three sites through forty turbines. It manages technical support, including device monitoring and maintenance, through a central operations centre in Perth.
For Blair Fox to successfully deliver reliable renewable energy to its clients, it needs to be able to closely monitor the performance of each turbine – regularly drawing down critical data to identify and predict potential maintenance issues.
Using older wind turbines in remote locations poses two key challenges. Firstly, communication systems (SCADA) built-into older turbines rely on dial-up modems to connect to the internet. Secondly, the accessibility of turbines makes manual maintenance a long and hazardous pursuit – with technicians often travelling hundreds of kilometres to conduct maintenance.
Like many utility companies, Blair Fox had relied on a Circuit Switched Data (CSD) over GSM solution to communicate and monitor their turbines. However, the pending shutdown of 3G, meant they needed to find an alternative solution.
Blair Fox’s priority was to find a solution which would allow it to continue to use the in-built SCADA technology – as upgrading it was not financially viable. As a small, but growing company, Blair Fox also required a solution which could be deployed with minimal customisation.
Blair Fox approached M2M and its technical team swiftly recommended its Circuit Switched Data (CSD) Emulation Solution.
The turnkey solution emulates CSD over IP – allowing legacy systems to communicate seamlessly over 4G. Their solution uses a Sierra Wireless FX30 modem and upgraded M2M Connectivity SIM at each site.
Blair Fox implemented the plug-and-play solution within two weeks and it is now supported by M2M’s managed-service offering.
Blair Fox has seen significant improvements in reliability and overcome issues including overcharges and fees. In addition to cost savings, Blair Fox has also noticed monitoring has become easier and more efficient.
“What attracted us to M2M and the CSD solution was the promise of a ‘plug and play’ solution supported by a team of technical experts,” says Tim Rosser Director at Blair Fox.
“The speed of deployment and the responsiveness we have received has been exceptional. Importantly, what we now have is the peace of mind we need to run our turbines and deliver to our customers for years to come.”
With M2M’s Circuit Switched Data (CSD) Emulation Solution, Blair Fox has implemented a system which is future proof (including 5G) and can be easily migrated as cellular networks evolve.
“We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with M2M and drawing on their IoT expertise as we grow our business and reputation as a leading provider of renewable energy in Australia,” adds Tim.