LT1200 lowering Siemens 2.3 MW rotor

Craneless technology reaches new heights with next Liftra Self-Hoisting Crane

  • The new LT1200 Self-Hoisting Crane can lower and lift complete rotor assemblies up to 72 tons and gearboxes up to 45 tons.
  • Like its predecessor, the LT1200 is delivered in a single 40-foot container for easy mobilization; is mounted in the nacelle during the component exchange; and is safe to operate in winds up to 18 m/s.
  • The full up-tower structure weighs only 15-17 tons, and the technology can be used on turbines with a hub height up to 170 m.
  • With a single container down-tower, the small footprint means fewer costs incurred for ruined crops and farmland.

Craneless technologies are taken to the next level with the new LT1200 Liftra Self-Hoisting Crane. With Liftra’s new solution, operators can replace most major components without calling in large conventional cranes. This includes 45-ton gearboxes, 72-ton rotor assemblies, 35-ton generators, and 10-ton transformers.

The first two LT1200 units are already in production, scheduled for delivery to two major wind industry companies in North America in 2019.

The demand for lighter lifting solutions is rooted in steep crane prices. Larger wind turbines typically require larger and therefore more expensive cranes; a cost that increases exponentially in hard-to-reach areas.

“We receive valuable input from leading OEMs and energy companies to ensure our design of the LT1200 solution is informed by real challenges and needs,” said Per Fenger, CEO and co-founder of Liftra. “With the next generation of turbines beginning to experience component failures, this new technology is a logical step towards a more flexible industry for large correctives and will help to further reduce the operational expense of the wind energy industry.”

Conceptually, the new crane builds on the tried and tested LT1000 Self-Hoisting Crane that Liftra launched in 2013. With a tally of over 400 gearbox changes, the LT1000 technology has been gaining a firm foothold on the component exchange market over the years. In December, E.ON Climate & Renewables marked the 100th gearbox exchange with their unit alone.

Despite its increased capacity, the LT1200 provides the same mobility and flexibility as its predecessor, but for heavier components. It is delivered in a standard 40-foot container for a minimal on-site footprint that requires no ground works. Weather delays can be kept to a minimum as well with safe operation in winds up to 18 m/s.

Container with Liftra Self-Hoisting Crane
A Liftra Self-Hoisting Crane transported in a standard 40-foot container.

Getting the crane up to the nacelle is also a procedure well-known from previous Liftra technology. A base system is installed inside the nacelle, and a hoist block is lifted up, threading wires from the container to the base. The crane itself can then climb the wires from the container and mount onto the base. From there, no further assembly is required, and operation can begin. The full up-tower structure weighs only 15-17 tons as the winch and electric motor sit in the container down-tower.

The LT1200 Liftra Self-Hoisting Crane is another milestone in Liftra’s push to lower costs for owners and operators by enabling craneless replacement of major components.

About Liftra

Liftra is an independent developer and manufacturer of tailor-made lifting and transportation solutions for the global wind energy industry. Established in 2003, the company is recognized as a dependable supplier of cutting-edge technologies and engineering services. With years of industry experience and in-depth knowledge of work processes in turbine installation and maintenance, Liftra designs equipment that helps make wind energy more affordable.

Thomas SandbjergCraneless technology reaches new heights with next Liftra Self-Hoisting Crane