Usabiaga faces the wind with GTK

By Euan Youdale21 December 2009

A Manitowoc Grove GTK1100 showed its capabilities on a project erecting a series of wind turbines in the mountainous region of Galicia, an autonomous region of northwest Spain. The crane assembled the turbines at the Cova da Serpe wind park, close to the city of Lugo.

Wind power giant Vestas was the client on the project that involved placing 12 of its V90 turbines, which have a 3 MW rating. Vestas contracted rental company Usabiaga for the lifting work, and the company sent its GTK1100 to the site.

Patxi Usabiaga, owner of rental company Usabiaga, explained some of the challenges on the job. "The location is ideal for turbines in terms of the strong winds," he said. "In fact, we actually had to postpone the erection of the windmills on more than one occasion because the winds were too strong for lifting operations. Because the area is so remote and difficult to access, we were limited in our choice of crane. When looking at those options we knew the GTK1100 was the perfect choice. In fact, it was the more economical, fastest and safest crane for this project and was a real success."

In its most economical travel configuration and, depending on local road regulations, the GTK can travel on four trucks. Once at the project there were further savings as the crane was rigged in a matter of hours in a very compact space with minimal crew and an assist crane.

Once ready to lift, the GTK1100 was able to use its full lift capabilities. The crane's design has a five-section 76.5 m vertical telescopic mast with the upper works mounted on top. The upper works includes a 60 m telescopic boom. Although not needed for the project at Cova da Serpe, the crane can also use 60 tonnes of counterweight for more capacity.

On the project the crane erected one turbine every 1.5 days. It took about 13 hours to move between each turbine, including breakdown, transport and re-assembly at the next site. Component weights ranged between 40 and 63 tonnes, including rigging - the heaviest being the 88 tonne nacelles. All lifts took place at radii between 11 and 12 m.

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