New US wind turbine company orders 90m Brontos
By Murray Pollok26 June 2009
A new company has been formed in Texas, US, to provide high reach access services for the wind turbine industry. TGM Wind Services has placed an order for two 90 m Bronto Skylift machines and said a further two 90 m and one 104 m Bronto units could be ordered within the next year.
Abilene-based TGM is a sister company to Wimsco, Inc, a company that provides tree trimming and other landscaping services to utility and military customers in the US. The two companies share owners and managers, including TGM's vice president, Kevin Darby.
Mr Darby said; "our long-term goal is to provide wind turbine owners nationwide with the highest quality, most comprehensive inspection and maintenance services available at the lowest possible cost. Our high-reach aerial work platforms with on-board phased array ultrasonic technology allow us to work more productively and reduce our customers' overall maintenance costs.
"And, more importantly, since our service technicians are working from the enclosed platform of an elevated aerial device rather than from a basket suspended from a crane or by repelling down from the hub, we're doing it a whole lot safer."
The Bronto machines will be the largest aerial devices in the US. The ordered machines are the S 90 HLA (high level articulated) aerials that will be delivered later this year, although TGM said it had plans to order at least one 104 m model in next year along with "a couple more S 90 HLAs."
The Bronto S 90s have been used in Europe for many years and have been tested in the toughest conditions. When elevated, they can withstand winds speeds up to 12 m/s and they can lift up to 450 kg of men and materials in a 2.4 m by 1 m, fully-enclosed platform to a 90 m maximum working height. Maximum horizontal outreach is 33 m.
One-button automatic leveling of the outriggers means that they can be positioned, set-up and elevated to the overhead area in 15 to 20 minutes or less.
TGM said that in addition to lifting technicians to overhead areas for inspection and service, it will also be able to perform phased array ultrasonic inspections directly on in-service turbines. Phased array ultrasonic inspection is one of the preferred techniques used by many turbine manufacturers to check for defects prior to shipment and delivery.
With this capability, TGM can assess weld integrity on tower sections and locate any bonding or laminating defects within the turbine blade, and provide reports on any possible manufacturer defects or structural damage that might have occurred during transport or erection.