An industry research project to develop new systems for precision handling of heavy loads such as the installation of giant wind turbine blades in strong winds has progressed to proof of concept testing.
Backed by $178,000 in commercialisation funding from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC), lifting and load orientation products manufacturer Verton’s Windmaster is addressing safety and productivity concerns in the Trillion dollar wind turbine installation and maintenance market.
Now Verton has linked with multinational companies Mammoet, a heavy lifting and transport specialist, marine engineers Van Oord, and wind power specialist Vestas, as well as Australian SME suppliers, all of which are financial contributors to the project.
Verton project manager Patrick Taylor said: “Through the AMGC-backed project, we scaled up the loads we can handle with the Everest system, from 25-tonne capacity to deploying a proof-of-concept for testing at Brisbane Airport which will be capable of significantly higher loads.
“The proof-of-concept test will help us develop the best product for high-wind environments, where we use the wind against itself, rather, than try to fight it.”
Verton’s Windmaster system has been integrated to Vestas’s multi-blade installer yoke technology, enabling it to help lift blades, nacelles, turbines and other large components.
Core to the solution is a patented, remote-controlled, gyroscope enabled product, which delivers simpler and safer lifting, rotation and orientation of heavy loads.
The Verton solution allows for the removal of ‘taglines’ that support the load to ground level and ‘dogmen’ who operate taglines form the ground.
These traits are particularly important when installing motors and blades to wind-turbines off-shore.
In user testing and field deployment, Verton’s technology has been proven to reduce equipment downtime by 25 percent, and the time loads spend in the air by up to 50 percent.
AMGC managing director Dr Jens Goennemann said: “By collaborating with best of breed researchers and industry partners to identify business opportunities, Verton is set to export locally developed craning and lifting solutions into numerous international markets,” said Goennemann.
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