Project Overview: Inspection and Access for wind energy off the Sussex coast

Rampion Offshore Wind Farm is due to be completed and fully operational in 2018, with German developer E.ON overseeing the installation of 116 turbines at the 400MW project. With each turbine consisting of an 80 metre tower, weighing approximately 200 tonnes, E.ON’s technicians required an easy means of gaining access to the nacelle fitted to the top of each tower, which houses the generator, and the gearbox, on which the turbine blades are mounted.

As each of the blades have to be hoisted and connected one at a time, E.ON needed to ensure technicians could quickly and safely reach the nacelle to carry out the installations. Additionally, E.ON required quick and safe access to the nacelle during its maintenance programme at Rampion.

The Solution: Ascenders to Elevate Equipment

To address these challenges, Altitec equipped E.ON’s Rampion technicians with an initial batch of five ActSafe ACX Ascenders. This battery-powered ascender is able to lift 100kg for more than 200m of continuous ascending on a single charge. In addition, this model possesses a remote control with a range of up to 150m, allowing technicians to reach the most hard-to-access locations in a dramatically reduced amount of time.

A range of set-up options – the Ascender can either be anchored or free running – makes it ideally suited to lifting equipment no matter the situation.

Along with the ascenders themselves, Altitec also provided a full day of onsite user training to the Rampion team. The agreement also includes regular assessment and servicing for the Ascenders, and an uptime guarantee to ensure the Rampion team always have access to the Ascenders when they need them.

Outcomes & Benefits

The delivery by Altitec of the powered ActSafe Ascenders helped E.ON’s installation team to safely and efficiently complete the installation of the 116 turbines at the Sussex coast site on-time and without hindrance. Altitec’s thorough training and attention to detail was also crucial to guaranteeing the safe and correct use of the ActSafe equipment by the on-site technicians. Going forwards, the ActSafe Ascenders will cut job times for E.ON’s maintenance teams by up to 30%.

The Altitec Team