A noticeable development in our modern world is that, while electronic devices are becoming smaller and more portable, many goods being shipped around the globe are increasing in size. Globalization and industrialization are driving the need for heavy cargo, and this includes the components used in renewable and sustainable energy developments, such as wind turbines. Wind turbine components provide an excellent example due to their considerable mass. The machinery housings, called nacelles, are one example, while the rotor blades are extremely bulky and awkward to manipulate. With the development of wind farms around the world moving up a gear, turbine design is creating even larger units.
Consequently, moving heavy or oversized loads is becoming an increasingly important new business opportunity for terminal operators, but it poses new challenges at the same time. With lifts increasing not only in weight but also in their overall dimensions, it is not only the demand for more powerful cranes that is growing. There is a growing need for alternative methods of lifting. In view of the problems often posed by awkward shapes, such as the extremely long tower and rotor blade sections, it has become commonplace to handle these items by tandem lifting with two cranes.
Cranes ideally suited for heavy lifts
For a long time now terminal operators around the globe have been using Gottwald Mobile Harbor Cranes both for single heavy lifts, and as an effective solution for tandem lift applications, including railway wagons, boats, marble blocks, generators, gas and, of course, wind turbines. The Port of Aalborg Ltd., Denmark, for example, uses a G HMK 7608 B Mobile Harbor Crane with a lifting capacity of 140 tonnes for moving project cargoes such as components for wind turbines weighing up to 140 tonnes. The Port of Carrara, Italy, relies on two G HMK 8710 Mobile Harbour Cranes, with a capacity of 200 tonnes each, that can be used in tandem to handle loads of up to 400 tonnes. C. Steinweg (Süd-West Terminal) GmbH & Co. KG, Hamburg, Germany uses two Model 7, G HMK 7608 Mobile Harbor Cranes with a lifting capacity of 150 tonnes each, capable of tandem lift operations up to 300 tonnes.
Moving heavy goods is always a challenge, irrespective of whether it is a single or a tandem lift. Safety and lifting accuracy are the most important aspects, and are essential in avoiding the danger of injury to workers and damage to the load and cranes. Rotor blades, to quote a good example, are often transported unpacked because of their size, which makes them prone to damage. Gottwald has not only a long track record with cranes used in heavy lift applications, including tandem lifts, but also a successful one. To date, these tandem lifts have been manually operated, which confirms the suitability of these machines for this demanding operation. But the company has always been proactive in implementing crane features that enable and secure accurate, safe loading. The Visumatic® Crane Management System is standard equipment on Gottwald Mobile Harbor Cranes and provides many control features that further increase operating safety and crane availability. These features are either available as standard on the crane, or as optional modules that can be installed independently according to individual needs. The load guidance system, available with a range of options, ensures even safer and easier operation with such features as anti-sway, semiautomatic point-to-point handling, load linear motion and hoisting height limiting.