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Crane Hot Line

Airpes Makes Adjustable Spreader Beam for Wind Turbine Work


August 5, 2020 - Airpes, a manufacturer of lifting, weighing and below-the-hook equipment, has shipped the first in a series of 82.5-U.S.-ton capacity custom, adjustable spreader beams to one of the largest companies that assembles wind turbines.

The beams are a new development on an existing type of bean that the customer had bought from various suppliers.

Airpes and the customer worked together on the updated design. Airpes has active sales with three of the top four wind turbine producers in the world.

The beam weighs about 5.5-U.S. tons and measures about 33’ long. Its designed-in flexibility lets it work beneath the hooks of overhead and mobile cranes with capacities from 110 U.S. tons to 440 U.S. tons.

The beam will primarily be used to lift almost-finished product in the final stages of a manufacturing and assembly process that spans the U.S., India, and Germany. It will also be capable of lifting repowered turbines in the field.

The device’s three-way-adjustable balance mechanism allows flexibility for different operating environments. It also provides a safe backup in case power is lost. The bail that rigs the beam to the hook can be shifted forward and aft, when unloaded, to adjust for new types of loads with different weight distributions. It was manufactured at Airpes’ main factory near Barcelona, Spain.

Tad Dunville, general manager at Airpes Americas, said: “The beam is designed for safety and flexibility. It can work under most reasonably similar cranes of that capacity and has features that allow it to quickly be moved from crane to crane and also refocus on somewhat different loads. They are one of our best customers for safe working procedures; the factory is very clean and efficient, and they have an impressive safety crew. I love working with them because they realize that not just the load is important, but so are the people and the time.”

Airpes delivered a complete turnkey solution that included rigging gear. Dunville continued: “Our customers expect us to deliver a whole package. That means the ancillary features are no longer ancillary. If they have to hunt around for five days to find a shackle that we regularly buy, it doesn’t add value. Same with logistics and product support; we are quickly signing up partners in a support network, because our customers want a solid base to operate from.”

Airpes has three principle lines of business: pre-engineered weighing and monitoring kits for overhead cranes, including load cells, overload protection, readouts, and data loggers; engineered lifting devices for wind turbine erection; and engineered below-the-hook devices, such as coil grabs, rotating blocks, and magnets (and lifting and spreader beams).

Dunville said: “There are very few manufacturers out there that have built any diesel-hydraulic spreaders; we rarely do not have one under production. Beyond that, we offered the best price, a very robust design, flexibility to work with automation, and a vibrant support network. We were also willing to train a few local providers as dealers and repair centers and that made a big difference. Nobody wants to know how smart we are, they want to know how quickly we can support them.”


Crane Hot Line is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.