Airpes provides blade-replacement system

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Following acquisition by The Crosby Group, a leader in lifting, rigging, and load securement hardware, Airpes has widened delivery of innovative lifting, handling, and weighing solutions for the wind-energy and industrial market, including a craneless wind-turbine rotor blade exchange system.

As wind-farm operators meet demand for new turbines, they must also maintain installed towers, nacelles, and other components. Central to that work is removal and replacement of rotor blades, which can measure 80 meters (approx. 260 feet) in length and weigh more than 24 tons. With wind farms naturally being installed in remote, windy locations, this is a complicated, expensive process that involves large cranes and heavy rigging — until now.

Airpes has widened delivery of innovative lifting, handling, and weighing solutions for the wind energy and industrial markets. (Courtesy: Crosby Airpes)

“Our challenge was to develop a more cost-effective, faster solution to replace the logistical feat of getting big cranes, hoisting technology, and personnel onto remote sites, sometimes for multiple days. The wind-energy market is constantly evolving and innovating — and its suppliers must keep up or even pioneer new solutions. Our ground-level, winch-based system avoids the use of large cranes, immediately eliminating much of the time and costs involved with other solutions,” said Josep Compte, Airpes’ managing director and co-founder.

Combining winches at ground-level with a series of pulleys and shackles in the nacelle, Crosby Airpes can remove and replace blades in a 6 o’clock position. On the top of the tower, a rig is customized according to the turbine. For installation, a smaller mobile crane provides the necessary support to the tip of the blade.

“The craneless system demonstrates innovative thinking and improvements in cost and time efficiencies for the customer,” Compte said. “It has given us clear competitive advantage in one of the world’s most vibrant markets, further increasing our market share and contributing to significant, long-term growth.

Leveraging The Crosby Group’s global footprint, technical field support and training teams, and world-class hardware, together we will bring this solution to more sites and make the lifting and renewables industries safer and more efficient.” Crosby Airpes is part of The Crosby Group’s Technology Solutions portfolio, along with Crosby BlokCam and Crosby Straightpoint. This portfolio combines technology and lifting and rigging hardware to deliver solutions that improve safety and productivity for customers.

Crosby Airpes’s craneless wind turbine rotor blade exchange system is available for purchase or rental.

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