Solution by Thern: Innovative Wind Turbine Maintenance

The Client:

Northern Power Systems (NPS), a prominent Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) specializing in wind turbine electric power generators, sought out Thern for a unique and challenging problem. NPS faced a crucial issue regarding the maintenance of their turbine generator and rotor assemblies. The existing solution involved renting a large ground-based truck crane. However, this presented two significant challenges: the high cost of crane rentals and the impracticality of deploying such cranes to remote wind turbine locations.

The Challenge:

NPS needed a cost-effective and efficient solution for the maintenance of their wind turbine generators and rotors. The primary challenges included reducing maintenance costs and overcoming the logistical hurdles of reaching remote turbine sites.

The Solution:

Thern engineered an innovative dual-crane solution to address NPS’s maintenance challenges. This solution revolutionized wind turbine maintenance and allowed for streamlined and cost-effective operations.

  1. Auxiliary Crane: Thern designed an auxiliary crane based on the Thern 5PT10 model, with a custom aluminum base for attachment to existing mounting locations on the side of the turbine nacelle. This auxiliary crane was designed to assist with the assembly of the main lift crane on top of the nacelle. Its custom winch, with a lifting capacity of approximately 500 lbs (226 kg) at a distance of 120 ft (36 m), played a pivotal role in this process.
  2. Main Lift Crane: Thern developed a completely custom main lift crane, tailored to NPS’s specific needs. This crane featured a main load lifting winch and a trolley system controlled by a manually operated closed-loop winch. The winch on the main lift crane was designed for heavy lifting, with a rating of 7,500 lbs (3,400 kg) at a distance of 120 ft (36m), utilizing a 2-part line rigging system through the boom-mounted trolley.

The Outcome:

Thern’s innovative dual-crane solution transformed the maintenance process for NPS’s wind turbine generators and rotors. With this system, 2 to 3 operators can efficiently disassemble and remove the generator and rotor from the nacelle, lowering them to the ground for maintenance. Once maintenance tasks are completed, the main lift crane is used to precisely lift the rotor and generator back into position. Upon finishing all maintenance activities, the cranes can be safely disassembled and lowered to ground level, ensuring minimal downtime and cost-effective operations.

Thern’s solution not only resolved the challenges NPS faced but also introduced a cost-efficient and practical method for wind turbine maintenance, even in remote locations.

At Thern, we are committed to engineering innovative solutions that address unique challenges in various industries. If you have specialized requirements or face complex operational issues, contact Thern today to explore how our expertise can transform your operations and streamline your processes. Together, we can elevate your efficiency and reduce costs while ensuring safety and precision in your operations. Let us be your partner in innovation.


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