Enercon installs wind turbines with self-climbing crane LCC140

20210615 enercon lcc140 wind turbine

With a joint effort between Lagerwey and Enercon, they have developed two self-climbing LCC140 cranes, each of which can be used to install turbine models of its latest EP 3 and EP 5 platforms, including the latest E-160 EP5 E2 and the upcoming flagship E-160 EP5 E3 with the new one E-nacelle.

Bringing Concept into action

Each LCC140 crane has a lifting capacity of 140 tonnes “under the hook”, excluding the weight of the hook and cables of the device. An LCC140 crane was used to install the first three E-136 EP5 turbines on a project in the Dutch port of Eemshaven.

The first installation attempt also served as a proof concept for the new LCC140, explains crane specialist and lead engineer Henk Henriksen, a senior member of Enercon’s Dutch research and development team in Barneveld, central Netherlands.

“After successfully completing this full test installation process, which included all of the tower segments, nacelle stern, generator, hub and blades, the same crane will be used again to install the second turbine, while the other LCC140 will be the third turbine on this project Installed.” Henriksen says. “All three are equipped with a hub height of 132 meters and are combined as standard with our specially developed, bolted modular steel towers (MSTs). This is a key feature of this fully integrated concept.”

The next job for the self-climbing LCC140 cranes is a wind farm with 21 turbines and E-136 turbines in the same coastal region in Eemshaven. In this case, 16 of the turbines – all with a hub height of 155 meters – will be installed with LCC140 cranes, the rest with conventional crawler cranes.

The beginning of LCC140 conceptual ideas

The first conceptual ideas for this clever, innovative self-climbing crane concept come from the former Dutch wind pioneer Lagerwey and developed into the first LCC60 product development in 2015/16.

The crane was developed taking into account the 2-2.6 MW LP2 series by Lagerwey, in particular the volume model L100-2.5 MW. As with the LCC60, the number in the name refers to the maximum lifting capacity of 60 tons below the hook.

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(After Lagerwey was taken over by Enercon in 2019, Lagerwey disappears as a brand.)

How the modular steel tower and LCC60/LCC140 works altogether

All Enercon modular steel towers (MST) comes with a wide base consist of pre-bent conical steel sheets, each 2.8 x 12 metres in size, about 20mm thick. It has precision-cut holes for the vertical and horizontal bolt connections.

The assembly process begins by screwing these individual elements together in tapering full-circle sections, with the section diameter decreasing with height.

A key feature of the combined tower crane system is that all individual MST sections contain three levels with large pre-cut holes in the shell floor area for LCC16 and LCC140 assembly.

On each level, these holes are located at -90 degrees, neutral, and +90 degrees around the perimeter. The position relative to the main axis of the main body is neutral.

A total of six holes – three at each height – serve as attachment points for climbing cranes and are therefore structurally reinforced in both places with steel plates. Two additional stiffening beams connect the central (neutral) hole, with holes two and three together forming a V-shape that provides additional structural strength and optimal load transfer between tower and crane.

At the beginning of each full turbine installation process, a small crane installs the first three MST subsections, creating a launch platform for the self-climbing crane.

Moving the self-climbing crane

The approximately 30 meter long central main body contains four hydraulically operated side “gripping arms” in two separate vertical planes with a distance of approximately 24 meters. This distance is the distance of two complete MST sections, but is actually divided into three sections.

During a lifting process, all four gripper arms and central attachment points between the crane body and tower are closed and locked. When the crane is moved to the next installation position, the side grapple arms are released before the central body moves up a tower section made possible by another hydraulic system.

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New design on LCC140 with an integrated horizontal walking beam for installation with a leaf.
New design on LCC140 with an integrated horizontal walking beam for installation with a leaf.

The rotation of the “split” lattice crane boom on the upper crane body is made possible by several slewing motors. New for the LCC140 is an integrated horizontal walking beam for installation with a leaf, which is mounted above the crane hook and can actively rotate around its central axis.

The LCC60 and LCC140 lifting operations are controlled remotely from the ground with the help of cameras that are installed at important positions on the crane. Many built-in safety functions determine when a lifting process can begin.

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