Spider is dedicated to creating cutting edge at-height access and safety solutions, and we take pride in our work. We have remained a leader in the suspended access field for nearly 70 years thanks to our consistent dedication to quality, workmanship, and safety. Our innovations in at-height access extend beyond scaffolding and hoists, and we offer custom engineered solutions for our customers’ specific needs. The 360° Blade Access Platform is one of those innovations, because it affords workers 360° access to a windmill blade for maintenance, repair, and construction. In late 2015, Spider was approached by Akuo Energy with a request to create a solution to access their wind turbines, and we delivered a custom engineered solution.
Akuo Energy is France’s leading independent producer of renewable energy with subsidies in ten countries, including Uruguay. While Uruguay’s temperamental climate is excellent for producing wind speeds to generate high amounts of energy, the climate also requires consistent blade maintenance during the operation stage. Akuo Energy developed their own inspection, repair, and preventive maintenance services specifically for the region, but needed help with the access aspect. They approached Spider, and after a thorough analysis, Spider’s 360° Blade Access Platform was chosen as the best solution for their needs. However, due to the large size of the wind turbines on Akuo Energy’s wind farm, the standard platforms were too small.
The 300-ft Norex N117, Vestas V112 and V117 wind turbines required 360° BAP capable of passing over the largest portions of the large blades. In addition, because Akuo Energy’s maintenance team required mobile equipment, it had to be transportable and easy to assemble and disassemble to minimize long-term costs and installation time. Due to the size of the blades, the platform required would be the largest Blade Access Platform created by Spider, and one of the largest in the world.
Spider’s expert team of engineers designed a 500-lb capacity, 15-ft x 7-ft 360° BAP, complete with four 1,500-lb traction hoists. With custom dimensions, the platform was able to capture the lower blades and pass the max chords to offer complete access. The new BAP was designed to be modular, allowing maintenance technicians to quickly assemble, disassemble, and transport the entire platform using a standard trailer.
Spider also custom engineered a rigging solution to work with the BAP, and provided initial rigging services, a Competent Person Training course to enable the crew to operate the rigging safely, and on-site supervision for the first project to ensure safety and productivity. The entire project was designed, manufactured, and delivered in just four months, with the initial blade capture commencing in January 2016.
Akuo Energy is well on their way to using our Blade Access Platform in regular maintenance and repair of their wind turbines.
“Superb technical support, good practice, common sense, and fast decision processes were paramount in achieving our goal of purchasing a wind turbine access solution,” said Ing. Andrea Piñon, Asset Manager – South America, “Throughout the entire process we had a great relationship with Spider and very good responses from their team.”
“They succeeded in designing our platform, one of the biggest in existence, and enabling access to 100% of the larger blades installed in Uruguay. Once the platform was delivered, Spider’s field service technician was here to personally train our platform operators to ensure good safety practices and the correct set up and operation of the platform.
“We have a project to acquire a second platform to provide additional services to the region, and plan to continue to work together with Spider very soon. We are very happy customers and recommend them fully!”
In addition to our regularly available standard access and safety equipment, the Spider Systems Group is available for handling custom and large scale projects. Contact us at 877-774-3370 to discuss your needs, or to request a custom engineered solution.