Crane pads shape and dimension

Reading the wind farm BoP related info of several companies in the sector, such as Gamesa, Vestas and Nordex, I’ve found a variety of proposed shapes and dimension for the crane pads.

Basically a rectangular solution looks like the more reasonable option, but sometimes triangular, polygonal and even circular pads are found. I think that they waste space and that they can be complicated to construct.

The easiest solution is to align the pad to the access road: doing so it is possible to use the access road to assembly the boom of the main crane (if it was disassembled when moved from a position to the other).

The standard size for blades of 45 meters would be around 40x45 meters: this is a “Full Storage” solution, because it allows storing blades, tower, nacelle and all the materials in the platform.

Other solution are used in mountainous wind farms where earthwork is expensive: in this case a temporary storage area is made somewhere nearby on a flat zone, but this solution is more expensive and time consuming, because it needs more trucks movements and several loading/unloading with the auxiliary cranes.

The biggest problem is how to allow to the trucks to turn around: for instance, in the Gamesa manual for BoP no clear solution is given to this problem (attached picture).

I normally study this problem on a case by case basis simulating the truck movements with AutoTURN, as no general solution can be provided.

Another solution I use every now and then is to split the storage area: blades on one side of the road, and tower elements on the other. It can be useful when, to minimize earthworks, a 2 level crane pad is realized.

Below as an example you can see Gamesa and Nordex solution.

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About Francesco Miceli

I’m a civil engineer specialized in wind farms civil works (usually called BoP, that is Balance of Plant). I’m currently based in Madrid, Spain and I’m developing several interesting project all around the world – southern Europe, North Africa and above all central and south America.

2 thoughts on “Crane pads shape and dimension

  1. Dear Fransesco,

    Good observations and thanks for sharing.

    I would like to know if you have any other civil optimization ideas? If you can simply name a few? For instance;

    1- One should try to include the existing site tracks in the layout for cost optimizations. Existing site tracks could be easily upgraded.

    2- In soil conditions where clay exists, the foundation as well as the hardstands would require piles to support the structures above them. For hardstands, a geogrids just beneath (ca 2,0m) the natural ground could result in a lot of cost savings rather then installing piles. I have cross checked it via FEM and the use of geogrids improves the required bearing capacity (normally 300 kPa).

    3- The use of braced foundation in order to reduce concrete's volume.

    Do you have more ideas? Please do share.


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