Powering wind energy maintenance
Words: Peter Hearn, Operations Manager, ActSafe
In this, second of four articles, we see how ActSafe Powered Ascenders can be used for material lifting in the wind energy industry.
What is an ActSafe Portable Powered Winch?
A Portable Powered Winch is a Li-ion battery or petrol powered lifting apparatus that is certified for lifting both loads, personnel and for lowering operations. The winches use readily available, 11mm kernmantle ropes so only rope length limits the lifting distances. The Working Load Limit is 200 and 250kg so these winches are a flexible tool that makes it possible to lift a wide variety of cargo and facilitate positioning operations.
In wind energy maintenance time is money, particularly when offshore, where weather windows are short. What happens when your crew arrive onsite, with a restricted time opportunity to get the turbine back online and they are unable to get tools and material into the turbine because the installed lifting equipment is not fit for purpose?
An Actsafe portable battery powered winch, with a lifting capacity of 200Kg will ensure your maintenance teams can complete the task. This will reduce the risk of prolonged downtime. It also means it’s not necessary to have a permanent chain hoist fitted to the turbine, eliminating an additional piece of machinery, which also becomes a maintenance item. The line maintenance of a portable winch can be carried out back in the maintenance depot.
Portable Powered Winches can also save time. The average wind technician takes approximately 10mins to reach the nacelle and the average chain hoist takes about 8mins for the chain to reach ground and another 8 minutes to lift the load. So the onsite time, before the tools and material are in place, is a minimum of 26 minutes.
However, using a Portable Powered winch, the first crew member climbs to the nacelle with only a bag of rope, in seconds the rope is fixed in position and the bag dropped to ground. The second team member connects the Portable ascender to the rope at ground level, with the rope bag attached, so as to install the ascender later to the anchor. The first team member can then lift the load by Bluetooth remote control, whilst his colleague climbs to the nacelle. This small saving, in time and efficiency multiplied over many turbines and multiple maintenance crews, can quickly add up to significant savings for your wind turbine maintenance business.