Giant offshore wind farm selects Winlet trolleys for vital maintenance tasks

Dan Holgate and Scott Wright - winlet - ergomover-wireless-materials-trolley - Hird Sales
Dan Holgate, Area Sales Manager for Hird, handing over the first tranche of Winlet ErgoMover Go Wireless materials trolleys to Scott Wright, Marine Logistics and Facility Leader for Equinor.

Hird Sales is supplying 45 battery electric Winlet materials transport trolleys to support vital maintenance work on the world’s largest offshore wind farm under construction in the North Sea.

The first six highly sustainable Winlet ErgoMover Go Wireless trolleys have been delivered to the Dogger Bank Wind Farm Operations and Maintenance base at the Port of Tyne, in South Shields.

The Winlet trolleys, which are operated via a hand-held remote-control unit, will be used to move essential maintenance equipment and materials between supply ships and the offshore wind turbines.

Ideal materials trolleys

It is Hird Sales’ largest order, so far, for Winlet ErgoMover materials trolleys. Given the challenging conditions they will operate in, it is also testament to their excellent capabilities and robust design.

Hird Sales and After-Sales Manager Carl Cooper, said: “We’re delighted Dogger Bank Wind Farm has selected Winlet ErgoMover Go Wireless trolleys for this vital operations and maintenance tasks.

“They are ideal for the job. We’re confident they will perform very well and play their part in the successful operation of what will be a strategically important energy resource for the United Kingdom for decades to come.”

6 million homes

Dogger Bank Wind Farm, which is located more than 130km off the coast of North East England, will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm once complete. It will have a total capacity of 3.6GW, which is enough to power around six million homes in the UK with renewable electricity.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm is being built in 3 phases known as Dogger Bank A, B and C. The A and B phases of the project will transmit renewable energy via the Creyke Beck national grid substation near Beverley, while the C phase will transmit electricity on Teesside.

The wind farm is a joint venture between SSE Renewables, the lead operator for the development and construction of the wind farm, Equinor, who will be lead operator for the for the duration of the wind farm’s operational phase, and Vårgrønn, who bring specialist offshore wind expertise to the project.

Just one rotation of the blades (each one is 104m long) on one turbine will generate enough electricity to power a UK household for two days.

Hull-based Hird Sales has been collaborating with Dogger Bank Wind Farm Operations and Maintenance teams and with GMV, which manufactures Winlet products in Demark, to develop additional capabilities needed for the electric trolleys to meet the challenges of working in the middle of the North Sea.

ergomover training - Dogger Bank Wind Farm - Hird Sales
On the move – a Winlet ErgoMover materials transport trolley is put through its paces during a training session at the Dogger Bank Maintenance and Operations Base in South Shields before being put into service.

Bespoke design changes

The Winlet ErgoMover Go Wireless trolley has modified load bed specifically designed to carry the unique offshore pallets developed for working on Dogger Bank Wind Farm’s wind turbines and platforms.

Winlet has also supplied trolleys with two wireless remote control sets. This allows two operatives to drive the trolley – one on the supply ship and the other on a wind turbine or platform gantry – with control switched between the two at the right moments.

Dan Holgate, Area Sales Manager for Hird Sales, said: “The adaptations align the Winlet electric trolleys with the safe system of work developed for maintaining wind farm assets.

“The transfer between supply ships and turbine stands is the most hazardous point in the process. Having two wireless remote controls greatly reduces any exposure to risk for the operatives involved.

“The modification of the trolley’s load bed supports the lean and safe systems developed to operate in a potentially harsh environment, with all equipment and materials held securely and efficiently.”

Confined space performance

The Winlet ErgoMover Go Wireless has a maximum capacity of 1,500kg. Its four-wheel drive provides excellence performance in confined spaces, which makes it ideal for working on ships and offshore facilities.

The electric trolley’s robust, foam-filled tyres also assist in gripping potentially slippery surfaces and will enable loads to be transported over raised doorways and lips.

Each trolley will be loaded at the Dogger Bank Operations and Maintenance base at Port of Tyne. It will then be driven onto the ship, ready to be sent on to wind turbine platforms or platforms holding electricity substations, with almost no manual handling throughout the entire process.

Instructors from Hird Training are now leading training courses to prepare the wind farm teams who will use the electric materials trolleys, including maintenance base staff, ship crews and maintenance engineers.

ergomover confined space performance - Dogger Bank Wind Farm - Hird Sales

Slick operation

Carl Cooper explained: “When fully operational, Dogger Bank Wind Farm will be supported by a fleet of four maintenance ships. One will arrive on a Tuesday and Thursday of each week, with just an eight-hour turnaround for crew, maintenance personnel, equipment and stores.

“It needs to be a very slick operation in which efficient and safe material handing will play a crucial part. We’re proud that our Winlet ErgoMover trolleys will be central to this process. It’s close to being an ultimate test of their capabilities and I’m confident they will pass it brilliantly.”

Find out more

Hird is the UK and Ireland distributor for Winlet products, which also include a range of high performance glazing robots.

Ergomover Lift and Go - Rotating table

The Winlet ErgoMover range includes the ErgoMover Lift and Go, with a load bed that can be hydraulically lifted 150mm, and the Winlet ErgoMover Manipulator, which can raise a load vertically.

Find out more about the Winlet ErgoMover materials transport range, available from Hird Sales. Telephone: 01482 481 960. Email [email protected].