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Van Oord and Mammoet seek safer lifting of wind turbine blades

21 Jun 19 Marine contractor Van Oord and heavy lifting and transport specialist Mammoet are teaming up with an Australian smart technology company to carry out further development of a safer lifting method for wind turbine blades.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed with Brisbane-based Verton Australia, which has developed the R-Series, a remote-controlled load-management system for cranes. The system has been designed to keep people out of harm’s way. The technology specialist was scouted after being selected to participate in PortXL, a Dutch maritime innovation platform. Van Oord and Mammoet are both partners in the accelerator programme.

Verton CEO Trevor Bourne said the partnership with Van Oord and Mammoet as well as a technical partnership with Danish wind turbine supplier Vestas was a watershed moment for the company. The deal between Verton, Mammoet, Van Oord and Vestas was the largest in the four years of the PortXL programme.

“This has been a fantastic year so far for Verton and one of the highlights has been our involvement in the PortXL accelerator programme where along with other scale-ups and start-ups we have benefitted from the mentorships from companies such as Van Oord and Mammoet,” said Bourne. “We are very excited about partnering with these two great Dutch family-owned companies to develop a new and safer method for installing wind turbine blades.”

He said that the technology that has created the R-Series is revolutionising suspended load-management for the transport, construction and mining industries and also many other sectors. “It provides unprecedented safety for crane operations as it eliminates the need for tag line use and associated workloads. Workers will no longer be near or under moving loads thanks to the R-Series.”

Van Oord, Mammoet and Verton plan to share their knowledge to develop a way to shorten the installation cycle times for wind turbines while making it safer for operators.

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Verton’s remote rotating device uses gyroscopic modules to rotate a suspended load. A new concept has been developed in which this unit is integrated into a lifting yoke for installing wind turbine blades.

Wouter de Wildt, an engineer and mentor from Van Oord who specialises in offshore wind projects, said: “The system allows operators to rotate and install heavy loads without using tag lines. Not only is this safer for operators but it also shortens the installation cycle times.”

Both Van Oord and Mammoet have committed to engage in the first of three phases of the development. The first phase is the kick-off phase, to have the technical assessment and requirements developed. Turbine supplier Vestas will provide the project partners with the technical information and expertise required for the development of the new product.

Jacques Stoof, director market development and innovations for Mammoet, said: “We are pleased to collaborate with other organizations in the same field, so we can jointly develop new tools and equipment to help the world of renewable energy to work safer and more efficiently.”

Jakob Sorensen, Vesta’s functional lead, said: “We are determined to develop a solution for safe and efficient wind power plant installation worldwide.”

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