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How Nel Hydrogen scaled up with CLEVR using PLM

As the global demand for sustainable energy solutions surges, with the green hydrogen market expected to reach $12.8 billion by 2030, the imperative for companies to expand production capacities and enhance operational efficiencies has never been more critical. This shift towards greener solutions underscores the necessity for manufacturing firms, notably Nel Hydrogen in the electrolyser industry, to scale up their operations in response to this escalating demand.

Nel Hydrogen, a leader in making hydrogen and oxygen from water through electrolysis, stands at the forefront of this transformation, symbolizing innovation and leadership in sustainable energy technologies. However, the journey towards modernization and scalability poses significant challenges, necessitating strategic partnerships like that with CLEVR to navigate the landscape of increased demand and the urgent push for environmentally friendly alternatives.

Nel Hydrogen's Journey from Manual to Automated Processes

"Where we come from, a lot of processes were manual; the way we handled projects was very manually driven. We need to automate and professionalize the way we handle projects and deliveries. So, I think that's the biggest challenge we have, besides the fact that the technology is developing all the time, and it's developing quickly." - Torsten Mann | Director of Product Engineering at NEL Hydrogen

Nel Hydrogen's storied success was built on manual processes that have served as the company’s backbone for nearly a century. Yet, in an age where efficiency, speed, and accuracy are paramount, these traditional methods started to limit the company's ability to scale and meet the surging demand for green hydrogen. The challenges were ranging from the necessity to modernize manual operations to ensuring seamless information flow across departments and maintaining up-to-date engineering documentation. These hurdles were not just operational but cultural, necessitating a shift towards integrating Industry 4.0 technologies into Nel Hydrogen's legacy systems.

The collaboration with CLEVR was a decisive step towards overcoming these challenges. Recognizing the potential of digital transformation to enhance operational efficiency and agility, Nel Hydrogen partnered with CLEVR to enhance their processes. CLEVR brought to the table innovative solutions and a deep understanding of how to leverage technology in streamlining workflows, improving project management, and enhancing data integration across the organization.

 

The Role of CLEVR in Transforming Nel Hydrogen

The partnership between CLEVR and Nel Hydrogen started with a detailed assessment to identify key areas where improvements could make a real difference. This assessment which involved input from Siemens experts, was focused on fully understanding Nel Hydrogen's specific challenges and opportunities. By working closely with business consultants, solution architects, and representatives from both Siemens and Nel Hydrogen, CLEVR gained a thorough understanding of the company's processes and needs.


CLEVR's approach went beyond mere technological integration; it offered a holistic business consultancy aiming at modernizing Nel Hydrogen’s entire operational framework. By focusing on automation, digital workflow implementation, and the establishment of a cohesive information ecosystem, CLEVR addressed the critical pain points blocking Nel Hydrogen’s scalability and efficiency. This transformation also encompassed the modernization of engineering documentation processes, ensuring accurate, accessible, and up-to-date project information, which is crucial for sustaining engineering excellence and innovation in electrolyser production.

The result of this detailed evaluation was as the following:

  • Implementation of a fundamental core Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system- Teamcenter for Nel Hydrogen.
  • Tight control over product designs through direct integration with CAD, MCAD, and ECAD.
  • The integrated system connects directly to the company's ERP system, enhancing process efficiency.
  • CLEVR's strategic move modernized Nel Hydrogen's operations and prepared it for future growth and innovation.
  • Ensured readiness to meet the growing demands of the green hydrogen market.
     

2024 NEL Hydrogen CLEVR Project Manager

The solution : Implementing Teamcenter, Leading PLM Technology by Siemens

The project's initiation marked the beginning of a transformative journey for Nel Hydrogen, with the integration of Teamcenter as a pivotal solution tailored to its specific operational needs. After a detailed assessment with Siemens and CLEVR, Teamcenter was chosen for its robust capabilities in aligning with Nel Hydrogen’s strategic objectives and operational ethos. A key highlight of this implementation was the seamless interface with the ERP system, enabling a flawless transfer of procurement data, a major step forward in operational efficiency.

Teamcenter's deployment brought about a range of benefits, including the development of a custom digital platform for real-time monitoring and management of electrolysis production processes. This allowed Nel Hydrogen to streamline operations, predict, and mitigate potential issues before impacting production. Additionally, the implementation of advanced data analytics tools within Teamcenter facilitated deep analysis of vast data sets, improving production efficiency and product quality.


The automation and digital transformation initiatives have led to significant increases in production capacity, improved product quality, and reduced operational costs. Furthermore, these changes have contributed to Nel Hydrogen’s sustainability goals, with more efficient operations leading to reduced energy consumption.

"Our productivity and efficiency soared after scaling our operations. Moving production to our 500MW Heroya facility boosted our output 10x. We switched from manual to a fully automated product line, a world-first. Now, planning to double this capacity, we're ready to meet market demand even more."- Torsten Mann

Vision and Future Outlook for the Nel Hydrogen and CLEVR Partnership


The vision for the ongoing partnership extends beyond the current achievements. In outlining the future prospects, it's emphasized that the implementation phase of Teamcenter within Nel Hydrogen's operations is still in its early stages. The goal is for Teamcenter to become the engineering backbone of the organization. Plans are in place to fully roll out Teamcenter across the entire organization shortly. After this roll-out, a thorough review is scheduled to evaluate the adoption of additional features that have not yet been implemented. Among the considered enhancements are advanced change management modules and the service lifecycle management module, which are pivotal for monitoring the lifespan and maintenance requirements of the equipment supplied by Nel Hydrogen. 

Looking ahead, the objective is to expand the scope of this digital integration by including equipment tracking and tracing capabilities and incorporating a monitoring feature. This addition aims to deliver real-time data from the field back into Nel Hydrogen's database, enabling the identification of production patterns and potentially highlighting issues such as a bad batch. 
By leveraging live data, Nel Hydrogen achieves a deeper insight into their production processes. This represents a significant advancement towards their objective of utilizing comprehensive data for enhanced analysis and more efficient operations.

"I think we build tomorrow together in different ways. We try to build the future by providing equipment to produce green hydrogen to enable the green transition, and CLEVR with the information technology will enable us to do that efficiently"- Torsten Mann-

This statement encapsulates the shared ambition to not only enhance operational efficiency but to also contribute meaningfully to the green transition. Reflecting on the partnership's path forward, the vision extends beyond the current accomplishments, focusing on leveraging digital transformation to build a sustainable future. 

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