Lagerwey designs the world’s first climbing crane

Wind-turbine developer and manufacturer Lagerwey, based in Barneveld, has developed the world’s first climbing crane to enable faster and cheaper construction of wind turbines. The Lagerwey Crane doesn’t require a large base, enabling construction of wind turbines in places where it was previously impossible, such as on dikes, mountain ridges, forests and marshland. In addition, the crane can operate under wind conditions of up to 15 metres per second.

Cheaper and faster
This climbing crane was devised by the wind pioneer and the Netherlands’ only wind-turbine designer, Henk Lagerweij: “Wind turbines are continually getting bigger, heavier and taller. On the one hand, this enables us to create more energy with fewer wind turbines. On the other hand, it also means the price of building tall masts like these is constantly rising. The cranes capable of building tall wind turbines are scarce and expensive. They also take up a great deal of space on the building site or require vegetation to be removed. This gave me the idea for the Lagerwey Crane, which ‘climbs’ together with the mast while constructing it. Lagerwey transports this crane on three regular trailers and erects it within half a day. The crane also only requires a small base. As a result, the costs involved in using our crane are much lower than for traditional cranes. The same crane can also be used for any necessary maintenance.”

Advantage for smaller wind parks
The installation costs of wind turbines are rising because turbines are being built in increasingly challenging locations. As a result, a large crane is required regardless of how small the wind park may be. The mobilisation costs of a conventional crane and the cost of a crane base weigh heavily on the budget during the realisation of smaller wind parks. For a large and heavy conventional crane, a long, straight area is required (around 200 metres long and several metres wide, approx. 3000 m2). The Lagerwey Crane needs only 350 m2.

Wind turbines possible in more locations
The Lagerwey Crane makes more sites suitable for the construction of wind turbines. At the moment, locations are deemed unsuitable if the ground is unable to withstand the forces that large, heavy machinery would put on them. Unsuitable access roads can also prevent the use of large machines. The Lagerwey Crane can be transported with three normal trailers, the crane itself is relatively light and does not exert force on the subsoil. As a result, ‘difficult-to-access’ sites are now suitable for the production of wind energy. This means that more wind projects are possible in new locations.

Prototype of the modular Lagerwey mast
The design of the crane is complete. Lagerwey wants to test the first prototype of the crane early 2017. At the moment, the crane only fits the modular steel masts that Lagerwey uses for the construction of wind-turbine towers, more specifically the L100-2.5MW Lagerwey turbine and the new L136-4.0MW wind turbine. The modular mast consists of steel plates that can be joined together at the building site by fixing bolts in prefabricated recesses. The crane climbs the mast via the same recesses. The modular steel mast principle devised by Lagerwey saves on costs as no special transportation or large storage facilities are required. Furthermore, the mast is recyclable.