Using a crawler crane with a long lattice boom, the first wind turbine at the Kolskaya wind farm was assembled; a nacelle weighing 68 tonnes and three turbine blades with each being 65 metres long – which is comparable to the height of a 20-storey building – were mounted on a 200-tonne tower 84 metres tall. All this work was carried out professionally by operators of a Liebherr LR 1750 (750t) crane, a piece of machinery owned and operated by Liebherr (a member of the RAWI). The company helps building wind farms globally, including inside the Arctic Circle.
Preparations for the installation of a wind turbine normally begin with the selection of a suitable crane. It must have a reasonable lifting capacity and can be transported to the site as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. The choice of the crane for the Kolskaya project was no random at all. With sufficient lifting capacity, the compact enough dimensions of the Liebherr LR 1750 components make it possible to transport it even to hard-to-reach construction sites. The suspended counterweight allows fast working, as no laying or dismantling of counterweight slabs is required. Great attention has been paid in the design to the safety of the crane operator and the area around the crane.
And for some of the hard-to-reach areas at the wind farm site, an LG 1750 crane was used, which features similar lifting capacity but, unlike its tracked ‘fellow’, has a wheeled base and thus – greater manoeuvrability when moving between areas.
Safety takes a pride of place when it comes to Liebherr deploying their cranes. Wind, which is essential for the efficient operation of wind power stations, becomes a real threat during their construction as it places additional stress on both the load and the crane and changes its impact in a fraction of a second. Especially difficult to lift are loads with a solid wind resistance, such as blades of a wind turbine.
When developing machinery for wind projects, Liebherr places great emphasis on learning how to operate in windy conditions. By identifying the risks associated with the effects of wind, Liebherr imparts important practical knowledge to crane operators and entrepreneurs through professional training programmes, as the company puts safety in lifting operations above all else.