Keeping wind turbine blades moving


During the last week of September, Combilift welcomed a few hundred visitors to its HQ and manufacturing facility in Monaghan to celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary. Events included factory tours, demos of new products and the opportunity to get an insight into Combilift’s global success with a Q&A with Combilift’s CEO and co-founder Martin McVicar, plus the launch of an exciting new product for the offshore wind sector. 

At the well-attended anniversary event, Combilift announced its move into the offshore wind sector with the launch of a new product designed to meet the load-handling demands of large-scale offshore wind manufacturers. As the green energy sector sees a surge in larger wind turbine components, including towers and blades, Combilift’s collaboration with industry leaders has resulted in the safe, stable and efficient lifting and storage of these extreme loads.

Combilift worked with Siemens Gamesa, one of the world’s largest offshore wind suppliers, to design the Combi-LC Load Carrier. This enables the movement of wind turbine blades and towers – some as long as 115m and weighing in at around 70t, through production stages and on to storage locations – which can sometimes be as far as 5km apart. The concept is based on two fully customisable remote-control units with low-level chassis beds that can work in tandem master and slave operation, with dimensions and wheel configurations that vary according to load type and weight. Combilift is in active discussions with other offshore wind companies with similar demands and expects to generate over €50m in revenue per year in this market segment by 2026.

The Combi-LC carrier unit boasts a unique attachment designed to securely grip the substantial cylindrical end of the blade, firmly affixed to the generator hub. This robust machine, powered by a 75t capacity diesel engine and equipped with 12 wheels, offers versatile multidirectional steering with six wheels. What sets it apart is its ‘tip side’ carrier unit, which smoothly manoeuvres beneath the blade, supporting it via a hydraulic tilting table-mounted clamp toward its narrower tip. These units often operate in demanding environments with less-than-ideal ground conditions, making their robust design and adaptability all the more essential.

Josh Moffett, Heavy Equipment Manager at Combilift, said: “We believe the Combi-LC will act as a gateway for us to further progress within our venture into the wind energy sector. The scale of offshore wind projects around the world leads to a unique set of challenges, one of which is the ability to transport the very large components that make up a wind turbine. The product is specifically made to order and therefore can be uniquely customised to fit specific applications.”

Martin McVicar, Managing Director of Combilift, added: “We have a track record of innovation at Combilift. We invest 7% of our revenue annually in R&D, and we are delighted to be continuing this tradition of innovation 25 years on. We now employ over 800 people in Monaghan and 200 people in other locations across the world, and the success of Combilift is a testament to our people, our customers, and our supporting global dealers. We are looking forward to the next 25 years at Combilift.”


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