Orangutan goes ape for turbines

ITI Energy is to develop a lifting device dubbed Orangutan, designed to improve the efficiency of construction and maintenance operations on wind turbines.

Operating and maintenance is a significant part of the overall cost of energy from wind and operators are looking for new ways of working to reduce costs. The majority of lifting in the wind industry is performed by large cranes designed to be used across a range of industries for construction and maintenance applications

However, given that wind farms are often sited on remote hill top locations, they can be difficult to access, while most cranes can also cause substantial damage to the ground and access roads. Large cranes are inherently costly, difficult to transport, deploy, operate and demobilise and they can only be deployed in low level wind conditions. The Orangutan lifting device has the potential to overcome many if not all of these problems.

Orangutan consists of two friction clamps connected by a hydraulic structure that allows caterpillar-like motion. It works by climbing the wind turbine tower, carrying whatever tooling package is required for the maintenance operation. The device can be used for a variety of lifting jobs and can be operated remotely.

The design concept for the technology was developed by Aberdeen based Oreada Limited. ITI Energy will continue to work with Oreada on the project.