Genie SX-180 Boom Lift Delivering Maintenance Efficiencies
Wednesday 29 October 2014 @ 16:01
DANISH WIND TURBINE MANUFACTURER VESTAS WIND SYSTEMS IS CONTINUALLY LOOKING FOR WAYS TO INCREASE EFFICIENCY IN THEIR TURBINE MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR OPERATION. ON A RECENT PROJECT TO RETROFIT 50 UPPER MICHIGAN TOWERS WITH LIGHTNING-DETERRENT TIPS, VESTAS CREWS UTILIZED FOUR NEW SELF-PROPELLED GENIE® SX-180 BOOMS.
Offering 54.86 m (180 ft) of vertical reach, the new boom is the largest unit that Genie currently offers.
The four Genie SX-180 booms played a key role in completing the project ahead of schedule.
Part of the Vestas after-sale service is a maintenance contract with the companies that purchase their turbines. Exelon Corp. owns and operates the wind farm called Michigan Wind 2 with 50 turbines on site. Vestas was contracted to install lightning-deterrent copper tips on the blades of all of the 50 turbines.
Even at their lowest position, the turbine tips are better than 155 ft off the ground, so access to the work area is, at best, challenging.
Though they’d done this type of work countless times in the past, when considering the pending work, Vestas felt it was time to look into a better means for accessing the blade tips.
The solution came in the form of the Genie SX-180 boom, released at the right time. Vestas is constantly looking for more efficient and cost effective ways to do the job and these lifts, by nature of their much shorter setup time, looked to be a great solution.
Vestas engineers particularly liked the fact that the new Genie SX-180 booms offered 54.86 m (180 ft) of reach, about 7.62 m more than they actually needed to do the retrofits. With an extra 7.62 m of reach, additional opportunities like looking further up each blade for lightning damage or leading edge erosion become possible.
The procedure for retrofitting the blades with the lightning deflectors was fairly simple. Using controllers in the tower, workers moved the rotor into the appropriate position with the target blade pointing downward, and then locked it in place.
Once in position and secured, the crew boom up to the blade, remove the existing lightning receptor and, using a combination of bolts and an adhesive, affix the new copper tip to the blade.
The Genie SX-180 boom lift offers a number of features found to be beneficial in the turbine project. These include a 2.44 m (8 ft) X 0.91 m (3 ft) work platform (ideal for two men and the equipment needed for the retrofit), a XChassis™ width that expands from 2.99 m (8' 2") to 5.03 m (16' 6") (which provided impressive overall stability) and a 3.48 m (10 ft) jib that rotates 60° horizontally and 135° vertically.
The crews report that having movement on the jib had been a real asset on this project. They’ve been able to access specific work areas much easier than in the past. As a result, production rates have been very favorable.
Vestas has used alternative methods for turbine maintenance and repair in the past, but have found the Genie SX-180 booms to be ideal from both a performance and operational cost standpoint. The alternatives include truckmounted booms and suspended platforms. By using the Genie SX-180 boom, Vestas has experienced a reduction in overhead and associated standby costs.
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