Equipment Manufacturers Rise to the Challenge of the Wind Energy Sector

Scheuerle

The wind power industry continues to throw down technical challenges to equipment manufacturers as their turbine columns and blades get bigger and bigger.

It is perhaps obvious that the bigger a wind turbine is, the more energy it can generate. The higher and bigger the sail, the more wind it can catch. But the logistical challenges of building these super-sized structures should not be under-estimated.

First, foundations have to be laid that will support the structure and ensure that it is never defeated by the wind forces that it is designed to exploit. Secondly, the heavy steel monopole tower has to be raised to vertical. Thirdly, the nacelles and rotor blades have to be lifted by crane to be attached to the top of this tower.

Transporter

And remember, not only are these blades designed to catch the wind, they are being lifted in a location that has been selected specifically for its propensity to be windy. In other words, it is the very worst type of load for lifting in the very worst type of location.

And that is just for onshore wind farms. Offshore, out at sea, where the turbines are bigger still, the challenges are even greater.

Over the past 10 or 20 years crane manufacturers have risen to these challenge however, with innovations such as Sideways Superlift and MegaWingLift attachments for telescopic boom cranes, extending tracks for crawler cranes and the hybrid Grove GTK1100 – the hydraulic crane on a stick.

For lifting at sea, jack-up barges and special purposes vessels fitted with the upper works of heavy-lift crawler cranes have been produced to service the wind energy sector.

monopile

But even before the lifting begins, the huge components have to be transported to site. For this, specialist equipment companies like Goldhofer, Nooteboom and Tii Group (Transporter Industry International) have stepped up to the plate. Tii companies include Scheuerle, Nicolas, and Kamag.  Each of these companies has brochures full of special solutions devised specifically for transporting wind turbine towers, nacelles and blades.

Nooteboom’s product range, for example, includes the Mega Windmill Transporter, for moving tower sections and nacelles of turbines up to 3 MW size.  It consists of two hydraulically extendible lift-adapters that can be employed on various vehicle types. At the front of the transport combination a lift-adapter is usually mounted on a 3-axle or 4-axle Jeep dolly. The rear of the combination typically consists of the 7-axle NLD hydraulically steered self-tracking dolly or a Nooteboom-Scheuerle modular trailer. During transport the tower section or nacelle is clamped between the lift-adapters.

scheuerle

The photographs on this page, however, all come from Scheuerle. They show the movement of monopoles for Veja Mate offshore wind park that Volker Stevin is building in the German North Sea. For this project, Rostock-based EEW Special Pipe Constructions GmbH has produced the world’s largest monopile with a diameter of 7.8 metres and a length (height) of 84.5 metres. There are 67 of these monopiles for Veja Mate, weighing a total of 87,100 tonnes.

Within the factory yard, self-propelled Scheuerle InterCombi SPE axle lines are used. To get the monopoles from the factory in Rostock onto barges, Buss Port Logistics uses Scheuerle self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs).

In total EEW and Krebs Korrosionsschutz GmbH are using 144 InterCombi SPE axle lines to move monopiles from the welding and paint shop to the storage area. Buss Port Logistics is using 48 electronically-steered Scheuerle SPMT axle lines for its part of the operation.

“For transportations of this magnitude, there is no room for error – every single detail must be correct,” says Dirk Pallatinus, transport operations manager at EEW.

Steve Rhine

About Steve Rhine

Community Manager at MachineryZone USA - All latest construction news on MachineryZone Mag!