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Rotor blade logistics concept proves itself in the real world

Some things go faster the longer they are – sailing boats for example. However, this is not at all true of rotor blades and their complex transport challenges. On the contrary – the longer the rotor blades are, the slower and more cautious their transport on the road needs to be. In tight and tricky spots, transports often slow down to a crawl. The new E-175 EP5 rotor blades are no exception. With their length of 86 metres, the rotor blades of ENERCON’s new top model are the longest rotor blades ever developed and built by ENERCON.

‘The size of the new rotor blade is the greatest challenge in terms of logistics’, says Lukas Freericks from the Technical Engineering & Support team at ENERCON Logistics. ‘The enormous overall length of the transport and the vehicle composition require extensive investigation and planning of the transport route plus any required road upgrades before we can take the components to the construction site.’

For this reason, the Logistics department was involved already during the development process. They simulated and investigated examples of critical infrastructure points such as motorway junctions and analysed suitable ship types and means of transport. Based on their preliminary findings, they worked together with Research & Development as well as Equipment & Plant Engineering to design and build new transport frames for sea and road transport.

In tackling this challenge, ENERCON Logistics can draw on decades of experience with rotor blade transports. The company is part of the ENERCON Group and plans and coordinates all component transports for ENERCON. It also carries out a portion of these transports using in-house personnel and company-owned special equipment. Most recently, the transport specialists have gained valuable know-how in the handling of rotor blades for large-rotor turbines from the rotor blade transports for the current ENERCON portfolio – know-how that is now being applied to the E-175 EP5 logistics concept.

The feasibility of this new logistics concept was under particular scrutiny during the transport of the first prototype component. The rotor blade factory in Viana do Castelo in Portugal was the starting point from which the rotor blade was taken to its destination, the ENERCON rotor blade test station in Aurich/Germany. On board the Peak Bergen freighter, the transport took the maritime route to the Jade-Weser-Port in Wilhelmshaven/Germany and continued from there as abnormal load road transport to Aurich.

‘We've used these transports to conduct measurement series to validate our transport concept’, says Lukas Freericks. And the E-175 EP5 blade transport concept has proved itself in this first great test. Some fine-tuning still needs to happen before the series production kick-off to ensure that everything will go smoothly when the E-175 EP5 rotor blades hit the road, and that even if the going is slow at times, the transports will arrive at their destination safely and without problems.

E-175 EP5 Rotorblatt on Board of the „Peak Bergen“ in Wilhemshaven