Palfinger’s New Blade Access System to Debut at Thornton Bank OWFs

Palfinger Marine has secured the first order for its newly introduced Palfinger Blade Access (PBA) system with Senvion, which will use it at the Thornton Bank I, II and III offshore wind farms in Belgium.

Image: Palfinger Marine

Dirk Reinhold, Head of Maintenance at Senvion, said: “Safe effective maintenance work on the rotor blades is crucial to ensure our high quality standards. By adapting the PALFINGER MARINE crane specifically for our turbines and using it for servicing, we can safely transport both colleagues and their work instruments quicker than before.

The DNV GL-certified PBA system for blade inspection and repair combines the Palfinger Marine nacelle crane PK 40002 M with a workman basket specially developed in cooperation with PP Techniq. The basket, designed with GRP (glass-reinforced plastic), can withstand harsh offshore environments.

The PBA basket has space for two technicians and their working tools. With the nacelle crane, the basket is easily lifted into operation and attached to the blade. Following the contours of the blade, the service engineers carry out inspections on their way down and perform repair work on the way up, Palfinger Marine explained.

Due to the blade-guided design, the Palfinger Blade Access basket follows the contours of the blade and remains at the same distance to the blade at all times.

Bernhard Peintner, Head of Wind Cranes PALFINGER MARINE, sums up: “Four years ago, the joint team of PALFINGER MARINE and PP Techniq had the idea of developing a safer and more effective blade access solution. It is very exciting to see our idea becoming a final product that is now gaining its first customers in the market.”

The 54 wind turbines of the Thornton Bank wind farm are situated some 30km off the coast of Belgium in water depths of up to 30m.

Construction of Thornton Bank was executed in three phases.

During the first phase, 6 wind turbines of the 5MW class were erected on gravity-based foundations. Thornton Bank I was commissioned in 2009. Thornton Bank II consists of 30 wind turbines of the 6MW class which were installed on jacket foundations. These turbines were fully commissioned at the beginning of 2013. The third and last phase of the wind farm development saw the installation of 18 wind turbines of the 6MW class which have been generating green electricity since July 2013.