hwstowers@hwstowers.com | +34 943 598 469

HWS | San Sebastian · SPAIN

hwstowers@hwstowers.com | +34 943 598 469

HWS | San Sebastian · SPAIN

A SELF-ERECTING CRANE
for Installation of Wind Turbines

HWS Concrete Tower S.L.— HWS has Developed and Patented a SELF-CLIMBING CRANE that defies the limitations of existing cranes in the Wind Energy Sector. The so-called AirCRANE System is a versatile and cost-effective tool for INSTALLATION of UNLIMITED HEIGHT WIND TURBINES.

The wind sector is facing the challenge of reducing LCoE, energy production cost. Bigger turbines at higher heights seem to be one of the most efficient solutions. However, as the towers grow the current installation means are limited in both lifting capacity and availability. In this context, HWS has found a great potential to the AirCRANE System, a crane and process that climbs along the tower externally and rises as the construction of the tower does, like in skyscrapers.

AirCRANE competes with current huge and expensive crawler and mobile cranes used in the industry, presenting the following main advantages:

Defying limitations of existing cranes in the wind energy sector

NO HEIGHT LIMITS

This technology can assembly any concrete tower at infinite height. The new generation of powerful wind turbines (> 4 MW) can be assembled at greater heights (>180 m), making the most out of the available wind resource.   

HIGHER AVAILABILITY

There are limited units of large mobile and crawler cranes in the world and they are very expensive. The AirCrane faces this challenge by being a low-cost machine, able to work at any site at wind speeds of 20 m/s.

COST REDUCTION

The implementation of the AirCrane could bring savings of up to 20% for tower installation, and 45% for wind turbine assembly, both of which lead to a relevant LCoE reduction.

EASY TRANSPORTABILITY
& LESS CIVIL WORKS

Only ten trucks are required to transport it; versus the 30-70 trucks needed by existing cranes. Additionally, in a wind farm fast assembly and transportation between one tower and the next one can be assured.
Due to the nature of climbing cranes, no big platforms or qualified soils are required at the base of the tower. This together with its easy transportation leads to minimizing civil works and obtaining an environmentally friendlier solution.

VERSATILITY

Due to its simplicity, the AIRCRANE system  can be easily adapted to any scenario and concrete tower type, different lifting capacity, radius, etc. Apart from tower and nacelle, it can also lift the blades, the complete rotor, and be used for maintenance purposes both in onshore and offshore markets.

Assembly at
infinite height

Safer Lifting Safer Operation

Only ten trucks to transport

No big platforms or qualified soils required

TECHNOLOGY DESCRIPTION

AirCRANE System consists of two different parts: The CLIMBING System and the CRANE  (or other tool f.i. a maintenance platform) attached to it.

The CLIMBING process  is the  most innovative part. It is divided in three sub-systems: (1) the main structure: a common lattice steel girder, (2) three devices called ‘climbers’, one fixed and two mobile and (3) the anchorage system, in concrete or steel tower.

The ‘climbers’ are  motorized trolleys that get attached to the concrete tower introducing a spike with a mechanical blocking device in a cavity made in the tower. In the case of steel towers, the climbers hang from the reinforced flanges present in the tower. Two of the climbers move independently along the main structure using a chain system. The right combination of movements of the three climbers along the girder – moving up and attaching/freeing themselves sequentially – allows an easy and safe climbing process.

DEMONSTRATOR UNIT 30 t

This product has been developed and manufactured with support of the European Commission (CORDIS no. 804858) towards its introduction into the market.

The demonstrator unit, able to lift a net-weight of 30 t, for maintenance and construction purposes, is already available.

Precast foundation
for wind turbines

System to construct
wind turbines

Precast/Prestressed concrete
wind turbine tower

Precast foundation
for wind turbines