Safe Transportation for Wind Turbine Components
Wind turbines of the latest generation are bigger than ever. In order to transport the long and heavy components quickly and safely to their destinations, P. Schwandner Logistik + Transport GmbH, based in Pfreimd, Germany, has added a number of new Goldhofer transportation solutions to its special vehicle fleet. That includes 3 trailers for the reliable transportation of turbine blades with a length of more than 80 m. The hydraulically steerable trailing dollies are fitted with a new hydraulic blade tip carrier certified by Vestas Wind Energy A/S, the Danish manufacturer of wind power solutions.
The larger the wind turbine, the more stable the supporting structure must be. In order to transport the heavy and voluminous tower sections, the oversized cargo transportation specialist has once again placed its trust in Goldhofer’s know-how. Schwandner will be using the new RA 2-110 tower adapters, which can handle tower sections with a weight of up to 110 t and a diameter of up to 6.8 m. The extra payload comes from the combination of a front bogie in the form of a 4-axle dolly with pendulum axles and a heavy-duty THP/SL-S (285) module as the trailing dolly.
Instead of the usual configuration with 2 free-turning devices (gooseneck with bogie and trailing module), the new system has only one, located between the front dolly and the tower adapter. The rear tower adapter is mounted directly on the module. Compared with a completely free-turning solution, this concept gives the entire vehicle much greater lateral stability for greater safety, even at high tilt angles.
Schwandner has also added new Goldhofer blade carriers to its fleet. They are designed to transport extra-long wind turbine blades, i.e. with a length of more than 80 m. This solution is based on a self-tracking trailing dolly for enhanced maneuverability on challenging journeys and at higher speeds, resulting in greatly simplified route planning. To handle the weights, Schwandner uses a combination of a 2-axle front dolly and a 4-axle trailing dolly with pneumatic suspension plus turntable and the Vestas hydraulic Interface located between the turntable and the friction clamp. This additional component serves to absorb the impacts of uneven surfaces on the route, thus minimizing the forces acting on the blades during transportation.
Since the wind turbine blade itself functions as a structural element within the system, it offers significantly more ground clearance than extendable vehicles.
“With this design, the blade simply passes over various obstacles, so that we can negotiate roundabouts and tight turns faster than before,” said Peter Schwandner. “In addition, lateral tilt in the blade is indicated on the vehicle itself and also shown on a display in the tractor unit. This is a major contribution to safety, one that we have not seen elsewhere.”
The Goldhofer solutions for transporting wind turbine components have already proven their worth in an operation performed by Schwandner for Vestas Wind Energy. The company was awarded the contract by Stena Renewalbe AB, from Stockholm, Sweden, to build the Riskebo onshore wind farm – 39 MW installed capacity with 7 EnVentus V162 turbines, with a rated power of 5.6 MW each. With a blade length of around 80 m, this is the largest rotor size in the Vestas portfolio. It is designed for low to moderate wind speed sites, although the turbine also remains operational at high wind speeds.
For Schwandner, the task was to transport tower sections and turbine blades from the port in Gävle, to Hedemora, about 100 km inland.
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