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One of the many problems posed by the huge wind turbine blades currently in the market is how to move them quickly and safely.
In some situations (like in the factories, or when blades are temporarily stored before installation) space can be extremely limited and there is the risk of damages. Additionally manipulating and moving the blades can be a time consuming activity.
To solve this problem a Danish company (SH Group) has developed an interesting solution, currently used by a blades manufacturer.
The “Blade Mover” uses two elements, one at the root of the blade (a trailer pulled by a vehicle) and the other at the tip, where a self-propelled vehicle with a diesel engine is driven by a technician using a remote control.
The vehicle at the tip is extremely manoeuvrable, allowing full control on the steering wheels – you can basically orientate the wheels in every direction you may need.
The tip element - an independent vehicle
The system has been develop to carry blades with a weight up to 80 Ton.
I also see from the pictures and the YouTube videos that it use custom frames. The frames are connected to the blade mover using a flexible sliding mechanism with safety pins.
The tip frame. All components can be modified to fit a specific blade
One additional benefit of this system is that it can work on uneven terrains absorbing height differences with a hydraulic mechanism.
The blade mover in action. The technician is using a remote control system.
Wind blades are normally carried by ship and truck.
By the way every now and than I see cases of train transportation: for instance Siemens moved 141 set of wind turbine blades (for the amazing total of 423 blades) to Portland General Electric's Biglow Canyon Wind Farm. Siemens is also transporting towers and nacelles via rail to various project locations throughout the U.S., so it seems that sometimes this is a reasonable option.
Vestas too is experimenting train transport: in the video embedded you can see how blades are transported from the factory in Germany to the wind farm in Denmark.
And the list is not ended: Enercon took a Marco Polo grant to move his blades by train.
Marco Polo is a UE found for modal-shift or traffic avoidance projects and projects providing supporting services which enable freight to switch from road to other modes efficiently and profitably.
The Grant (€1 268 577) for the ENERCON Tri-Modal project involves using rail and ship to move components and parts from Germany to Viana do Castelo in Portugal, as well as to installation sites throughout Europe. Discover more about Tri Modal here