As global energy demands grow; energy companies are constantly looking to develop and produce more environmentally friendly and efficient power supply innovations. With a leading power generation heritage, this Arbil customer is the leading supplier of wind turbines to the energy sector. Along with manufacturing these turbines, this customer’s service also extends to maintenance. A need for lifting equipment to remove rotor shafts from these turbines for maintenance and repair arose, leading to Arbil Lifting being contacted.
This energy management customer has been a longstanding customer of Arbil’s for a number of years, so when the need for a new lifting device arose; it quickly turned to Arbil to request a solution. Chris Maughan, Branch Controller at Arbil explains,
“We have been a supplier for this customer for many years now, because of our strength in specialised lifting equipment. We have a great relationship based on previous job experiences; with the customer also working closely with Brian, (Arbil’s General Manager of Manufacturing and Engineering) on many occasions. Our longstanding relationship doesn’t mean Arbil is automatically granted work though. With today’s economic climate most of our customers will have to put work out to tender; with at least 3 suppliers in the running for any job ,so we have to ensure we are always as competitively priced as possible, and 9 times out of 10 we get the job."
As one of the leading suppliers of wind turbines, this customer has a large fleet of turbines that it routinely services and maintains on behalf of its customers. With turbines all around the UK in service, specialist equipment needs to be on hand, to be moved to any site at a moments notice. The rotor shafts within the turbines are designed to last numerous years, however they do require routine maintenance. Maughan adds,
“With the huge scale sizes of the rotor shafts within these turbines and the complicated nature of where these rotors sit within them, it isn’t just a case of any lifting equipment or crane being able to lift them straight out. To get the rotors out they have to be lifted in 3 different stages; they have to be moved sideways and repositioned before they can be lifted up through the top of the turbine. Based on a site visit and gaining understanding of exactly what it was the customer needed from the equipment, we were able to produce a more than satisfactory solution."
Brian Timmington, Arbil’s General Manager of Manufacturing and Engineering, has worked on many of this customer’s projects since the relationship began. This project was no acceptation, with Timmington having close involvement with this solution throughout. Timmington details the job,
“The rotor shaft within these turbines is what drives the rotational energy produced by the wind into the generator, creating power; so it is vital that these rotors are working as effectively as possible. These rotors sit at the top of the tower of the turbines; which is around 80ft from the floor, and they sit alongside the gear box and generator, so removing them is no easy task. Exact precision was needed to ensure these rotor shafts could be removed without potentially colliding with any of the other materials surrounding them, which could lead to damage to the shaft or other parts. This meant 3 lift points had to be created within the lifting device. We opted to included trunnions to enable the rotor shafts to be lifted out in 3 stages. These cylindrical protrusions allow for the rotors to be mounted in various positions, but ensure the rotor will only move freely along one plane and in the desired direction when attached to the slings, making the risk of collisions with other parts negligible"
Due to the nature of the height, weight and precision involved with the extradition of these rotors, it was of upmost importance that this customer was working with a supplier they could trust. Maughan closes,
“The fact that Arbil have been a supplier to this customer for so long shows how pleased they have been with historical jobs. I think it’s so important to be able to trust the external parties you work with, both in terms of us at Arbil, but also our customers. My belief is that if you are paying for a service, you should be able to leave the person conducting that service to their own devices and they should be the expert in that area. They shouldn’t need to be monitored. This is exactly what we do for our customers, leaving them secure in the knowledge that they are going to receive a quality service”.