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Pulling much more than its own weight

Newly developed ground-based winch system shortens the amount of time needed to replace large components

When a large component of a wind turbine fails, the operator often has no other choice but to have the damaged component replaced. This often involves a considerable amount of organisational work and financial expense – not just for the spare part itself but also for the logistics and infrastructure required to carry out the replacement.

The loss of income due to system downtime also has a significant impact. The service provider GFW, a subsidiary of Deutsche Windtechnik, has developed a new ground-based winch system (GBWS for short) for replacing large components that can save tens or even hundreds of thousands of euros.

Using the laws of nature for specific purposes

The GBWS’s intelligent system of pulling and weight mechanisms makes the use of large cranes and the modification of local infrastructure that goes along with it unnecessary. The heart of the GBWS consists of load winches, support winches, support frames, counterweights and a control system. After the support frame has been securely set up on a suitable surface, the load ropes are pulled to the hub of the wind turbine.

Depending on the type of large component that needs to be replaced, clamping devices, guides/pulleys or transport devices are then installed. When the work was carried out the first time, two clamping beams were fixed to the rotor blade and the blade bearing attachment was detached from the rotor. The rotor blade was then lowered and safely placed on a blade support located outside of the danger area. The procedure has a decisive advantage:

The system is installed freely on the ground without any other connection to the wind turbine, so the rotor blades can be detached from the rotor hub at a precise angle of attack. Since the winches are not changed or moved while the blade bearing is being replaced, the load application points and the mounting angle remain the same and reassembly can take place immediately.



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