New opportunities

12 February 2021


Rainer Auerbacher, member of the board, resort Transport Technology at Goldhofer, talks to Sotiris Kanaris about trends in the special transport market, solutions for crane transportation and products in the pipeline.

“The effects of Covid-19 are enormous for the Goldhoferrelevant segments in the transport and airport sector. For example, the slump in oil and gas projects due to the fall in prices has had quite a strong impact on demand for relevant transport solutions,” says Auerbacher.

However, he highlights that the pandemic has accelerated changes and enhanced trends, such as the one towards renewable energy investment. “These trends are opening up opportunities. We are working hard to be flexible and support these trends with our latest developments.”

The wind energy sector has been one of Goldhofer’s areas of focus for years, with the manufacturer having developed products to facilitate the transportation of wind blades, tower segments and nacelles. Auerbacher says there is often a lack of experienced personnel for the special transport of wind components, but Goldhofer’s products for this application are simple to operate and have a number of safety features.

For the transportation of wind turbine blades the company offers »Ventum« and »Blade S«. »Ventum« is a semi-trailer equipped with five extension stages, while the new »Blade S« + SN-L is a trailing dolly system.

Auerbacher describes how the latter works: “The root of the turbine blade is mounted on a free-turning adapter located behind the tractor, while the tip of the blade is secured on the dolly. The turbine blade thus provides a rigid connection between the free-turning device and the trailing dolly, and transmits the forces between the two.”

“The developments of »Ventum« and »Blade S« with dolly system are the base to make transport of blades of 70m or longer possible,” he adds. “With previous technical solutions, the current and future blades wouldn’t have been possible to be transported. Therefore we assisted the market to make the transport technically feasible and according to legal requirements.”

Both solutions can carry the latest blade designs, which can exceed 90m, so choosing one over the other is not a question of blade length. “The question is the allowed overhang of the blade from a legal point of view and the geography of the transport area, together with the preference of the customer.”

He adds that the PST/SL-E self-propelled vehicle combined with FTV 550 blade hauler has also been a very popular solution for the transportation of rotor blades.

The turbine blade can be rotated freely around its own axis and raised up to an angle of 60°. “For additional safety, varying blade weights—which have a significant effect on the center of gravity and stability of the transporter—can be effectively compensated by changing the ballast.”

Goldhofer’s RA series of tower adapters, with a payload up to 180t, are designed for the transportation of heavy tower segments.

Auerbacher says that technical requirements and the resulting need for additional stability were the drivers behind the new RA-2 110 concept. “Thanks to that technical design, 6.5m diameter and over 100t tower segments are able to be transported in a safe and economical way.”

Auerbacher tells Cranes Today that there are new products in the pipeline to respond to the wind energy market’s needs.

These products will help their customers carry the ever-growing wind turbine components to mountainous areas that are sometimes challenging to reach.

Goldhofer will also be upgrade its Power Packs this year, so they can meet the latest emission standards.

Moving Cranes

In the first quarter of 2021, there will also be an expansion of the »Stepstar« series. The »Stepstar« series is the new generation of self-tracking semi lowloaders, comprising three- to five-axle semitrailers, for haulage operations with payloads of up to 70t.

One of the applications that the smaller low loaders of this series are used for, is the transportation of crane counterweights and boom extensions. Goldhofer’s SPZ flatbet trailers are also used for this job.

“As there are so many different types of cranes in the market and different local road regulations that need to be respected, the solution of transport equipment may vary,” says Auerbacher. He explains that the decision as to which parts of the mobile and crawler crane have to be dismantled before a move, depends on the local gross weight and axle load limits.

For the transportation of the chassis and bodies of the crawler cranes as well as the main boom of mobile cranes, the »Arcus« PK and STZ-VP series are most likely to be used. Both are flexible in their configuration and offer hydromechanical steering.

Auerbacher says in some parts of the world fully assembled mobile cranes are transported over long distances using a combination of THP/SL heavy-duty modules. “Thanks to the wide range of products in Goldhofer’s portfolio, there is always a sound and economical solution to bring a crane to its destination for lifting.”

The breadth of the portfolio in association with the upcoming product launches make Auerbacher optimistic for the company’s performance in 2021, as it will be in a position to take advantage of opportunities that could emerge from new trends across the various sectors it serves, as well as a potential economic recovery.

“In line with its uncompromising focus on the customer, Goldhofer is committed to the continuous further development of all its vehicles for heavy-duty transport solutions.”

Transport of a crane chassis with a »Arcus« PK
Goldhofer »Blade S« with SN-L system in operation