In order to transport three wind turbine blades from the German coast of the Baltic Sea to their destination in Hopsten, Westphalia, the Paderborn heavy haulage experts relied entirely on special vehicles from the house of Goldhofer. The over 400-km journey from Rostock was mainly on motorways, and it was possible to make reliable calculations of the expected forces acting on the blades and vehicle components. The fact that the three vehicle combinations, each over 82-meters long, were able to complete the journey in a record time of three days, was mainly due to the use of the new »BLADES« in combination with a trailing dolly from Goldhofer.
The combination of a blade root carrier on the gooseneck and a five-axle trailing dolly with pneumatic suspension plus turntable and blade support is a new industry benchmark. With this system, several roundabouts and tight turns were negotiated without any difficulties. As the turbine blade itself has a structural function within the configuration, the solution offers significantly higher ground clearance than extendable vehicles so that the blade simply passes over various obstacles.
The new vehicles were first presented as a concept for the economical transportation of turbine blades in 2019 and were the subject of discussions with Hofmann following approval by the blade manufacturers. “We were immediately convinced by the advantages. The blade is carried unsupported between the free-turning device behind the tractor and the trailing dolly. This permits higher travel speeds of up to 80 kph and greatly simplifies route planning,” says Sven Wolter, transport planner at the Hofmann company.
Wide range of applications
Goldhofer’s »BLADES« is available in different combinations. With the use of a 5-axle tractor and/or dollies, for example, the system offers scope for a variety of applications. Further combinations have already been sold throughout Europe, and demand is steadily growing. As a practical feature, the trailing axle can be coupled directly to the free-turning device when running empty. This turns »BLADES« into a standard tractor-trailer with variable-load lift axles to reduce tire wear. Thanks to the flexibility of the system, »BLADES« can also be used to transport other extra-long loads, such as precast concrete elements.