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Innovative transportation techniques increase project efficiency for first offshore towers manufactured in the UK

Key benefits:

Innovative bespoke solution

Reduced schedule

Reduced costs

Effective coordination with third parties

The Project:

ALE’s innovative mindset has enabled them to complete a challenging wind tower transportation in the most effective way possible. ALE successfully transported nine offshore wind tower sections, weighing 156t each, to Campbeltown Harbour, Scotland. These are the first offshore towers to be manufactured in the UK and ALE drew on its vast equipment fleet to select a transportation technique that shortened the schedule and delivered cost-efficiency on the project.

ALE began preparations for the transportation almost a year in advance of the operation, working in close partnership with the client throughout to demonstrate the feasibility of ALE’s proposed solution. ALE also coordinated with several other third parties on the project to provide the most efficient delivery programme possible.

For the transportation, ALE’s widening trailers were extended to 4.3m and positioned at the rear of the trailer. The trailers ensured stability for the lengthy load, which measured 32m long and 6m in diameter, had a high centre of gravity, and needed to negotiate undulating roads and sweeping corners over the four-mile route.

The project time was economised by the selection of a bolster configuration for the transportation, which minimised the amount of street furniture that needed to be removed. The towers were transported in convoys of two, with each of the towers on 26 axle lines of conventional trailers, in a bolster configuration of 2 file 6 axle at the front and 2 file 7 axle at the rear. Power was delivered more effectively by combing one Trojan truck with one MAN tractor unit for each convoy, producing significantly improved tractive effort during the transportation.

Once at the port in Campbeltown harbour, ALE had to overcome the limited space available. ALE designed an interface to connect the trailers’ bolster turntables to the tower sections’ carrying frame. This made the transportation more efficient as, instead of needing to use cranes, ALE made optimal use of the port space and self-offloaded the towers using the trailers’ hydraulics at the storage area, ready for loading onto a third-party sea vessel.

ALE completed the job safely, successfully and on schedule. The client was very happy with ALE’s performance and awarded ALE further work to transport the remaining 36 tower sections.

Craig Mackay, Project Manager, said, “This was a huge logistical challenge, especially as the route included a one-entry road. We were delighted to have been able to execute such an efficient operation, even with the challenges on the route, like the weak bridges. Some of the trailers had to be delivered by trucks with only 2 inches of space either side of the bridge but our coordination with the local authorities ensured we minimised disruption and kept the roads as clear as possible.”

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