Vestas invests in Salamander turbine erection crane

Green small lattice tower type crane at the base of a wind turbine tower The Salamander Quick Lift Crane Technology concept from S&L Access Systems in Sweden

Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has taken a stake in S&L Access Systems for it to help further develop the Salamander Quick Lift Crane Technology for wind turbine erection and maintenance.

S&L describes its Salamander Quick Lift Crane Technology as “a new top crane technology enabling heavy lifts on hub heights well beyond 200 metres.” It looks similar to a flat top tower crane with a very short double boom ‘T’-type head on top.

Capacity will be 150 tonnes at 9 metres radius. Its maximum reach will be 16 to 21 metres depending on boom configuration. It will have a continuous mast from the ground up to the top and the maximum hub height will be 210 metres. Salamander will be able to erect the entire turbine and it will be offered to all crane operators and wind turbine manufacturers, Marcus Dahlinder, S&L Access Systems CEO, told ICST.

Sweden-based S&L Access Systems already has Stena AB as a majority shareholder. With the additional investment from Vestas the company said it will now take the next step with the crane from concept to serial production. A unit has been built (pictured) to demonstrate the concept and now a prototype is under construction. By the end of 2021 it is scheduled to be undergoing testing.

The design includes moveable platforms for better safety and these are less wind sensitive when working higher up the tower, S&L said. As a tower type crane it needs a smaller concrete pad than for a crawler or large wheeled mobile crane as traditionally used for turbine erection.

S&L said the Salamander crane has “potential to be faster and more cost-effective in terms of transport to site, deployment, relocation in the field and crane decommissioning.” Transport cost is claimed to be reduced by 75 per cent for this crane over conventional types. It also takes less time to install, the company said.

Commenting on the Vestas move Marcus Dahlinder said, “We are excited to be partnering with Vestas in this unique product. Today, onshore wind turbines tend to be higher and soon to reach hub heights beyond 200 metres, wind power projects are more complex and often located in remote areas. As the importance of the wind turbine industry increases and turbines become taller and more powerful, we are well positioned with this unique crane solution enabling high safety and efficient lifting of high wind turbines in a more sustainable way, than traditionally.”

Speaking for Vestas, Bo Svoldgaard, senior vice president and head of innovation and concepts, said, “Vestas Ventures was established to make venture investments in innovations that contribute to accelerating the green energy transition. The Salamander Quick Lift Crane Technology is primarily based on proven technology and enables safer and more cost-effective lifts of heavy components even at the highest hub heights when building, servicing, and maintaining wind turbines. By accelerating the market adoption of this high-potential technology, we could reduce the cost of energy through reduced installation time, CO2 emissions and simplifying crane transportation, which contributes to maturing the industry in a more sustainable way.”


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