Daco moves turbine blades past an active volcano

By Katherine Weir15 September 2016

The rig in the middle of the mountain road for maximum distance on either side

The rig in the middle of the mountain road for maximum distance on either side

Heavy lift and transport company Daco Heavy Lift transported several rotor blades using a Goldhofer FTV 300 to the Viento Blanco Wind Farm in Guatemala, past an active volcano.

The company, based in Guatemala, was tasked with moving the blades of seven Vestas V 112 wind turbines over a distance of 80 kilometres from the Guatemalan port of Puerto Quetzal to the Viento Blanco site.

The route up to the wind farm is 10 km long and leads past an active volcano. It follows a narrow, winding mountain road lined with trees and rock overhangs and gradients of up to 18 percent uphill and 13 % downhill.

The FTV 300 blade transporter met all the requirements for handling such an operation, the company said, without having to blast any rock along the mountain road, cut the power to overhead lines or fell any of the trees that form a dense curtain on both sides of the road.

With the FTV 300, Daco's heavy haulage experts were able to raise the rotor blades to any angle up to 60 degrees. That made it possible for the narrow bends to be negotiated at walking pace without the risk of contact with the embankments.

An additional challenge was presented by the dynamic wind forces acting on the rotor blades in the raised position, when they are up to 50 metres high. That meant Daco had to have a wind force specialist continuously monitoring the FTV 300's integrated anemometer. In order to ensure that the rotor blades are always correctly positioned for the “optimum” wind attack angle, the FTV 300 has a 360 degree pivot system that permits the attached blade to be rotated around its own axis as required.

Thanks to this combination of flexible tilt angle and blade rotation, all the critical sections of the mountain road were negotiated with ease, while passages under the numerous overhead power lines were handled by simply reducing the angle of tilt, the company said. As a result, all 21 rotor blades were transported up the mountain in just three hours each.

The operation was completed in 40 days.

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