Spider, a division of SafeWorks, LLC, recently provided the largest Blade Access Platform (BAP) to date for Akuo Energy Uruguay. Akuo Energy is France’s leading independent producer of renewable energy and has subsidiaries in 10 countries, including Uruguay, their gateway to the Latin American region.
With two wind farms currently in operation (Parque Eólico Minas and Parque Eólico Florida I), and a third under construction (Parque Eólico Florida II), Akuo Energy’s installed capacity in Uruguay will be 141.5 MW.
Given the climatic conditions in Uruguay, blade maintenance is critical during the operation stage, which led to Akuo Energy’s development of inspection, repair, and preventive-maintenance services for this region. After thorough analysis, they decided upon Spider’s 360° Blade Access Platform, customized to capture the massive blades on its 300-ft tall Nordex N117 and Vestas V112 and V117 wind turbines.
Spider’s expert team of engineers designed a 500-lb capacity, 15 ft by 7 ft 360° BAP, powered by four 1,500-lb traction hoists. The custom dimensions of the platform enabled technicians to capture the lower blades and pass the max chords. This modular equipment was easily transported by a standard trailer and swiftly assembled on site, minimizing costs and installation time.
Spider also provided a custom-engineered rigging solution, initial rigging services, and on-site supervision to ensure the first project progressed safely and productively. Additionally, Spider conducted a Competent Person Training course to enable the crew to perform the rigging on future endeavors at the Uruguay wind farm.
“Superb technical support, good practice, common sense, and fast decision processes were paramount in achieving our goal of purchasing a wind turbine access solution,” commented 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.”
Spider’s custom solution was designed, manufactured, and delivered in just four months, with the initial blade capture commencing in January 2016.
“True to form, Spider has risen to yet another challenge and exceeded expectations,” added David Beckett, VP and General Manager of Spider Operations. “Together, our team designed, manufactured, and delivered the largest BAP to date – from Spider or any other manufacturer. While we take pride in that accomplishment, we remain focused on continually providing our customers with the safest, most reliable solutions for their unique access projects.”