Technical Digest: Component replacements - Innovative tower crane

A revolutionary crane developed by Vestas saves time and money on major wind turbine repairs, says the company. The crane clamps to the top of Vestas' turbine towers and allows the replacement of large-scale components, such as blades and gearboxes, in the largest machines.

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While a conventional crane needs between five and 12 vehicles to transport it, this compact crane can be moved in just two vehicles, one carrying the generator to supply the electricity for its operation. Components for the tower-top crane are winched into position using the turbine's on-board lifting equipment, then fixed to the tower. It can be ready for use three times faster than a conventional crane can be assembled. Maintenance of the new crane can also be carried out in wind speeds up to 17 m/s (a moderate gale) and it can be left on the tower in wind speeds up to 28 m/s (storm force winds), because it moves as the tower moves. As a free-standing crane is not able to do the same, by necessity, it has to have a much longer jib, so conventional cranes must be dismantled in wind speeds of about 10 m/s and more.

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