BladeRunner, a craneless blade replacement system developed by Nabrawind, has executed a demonstrator maneuver for ACCIONA Energía in Aragon, Spain, consisting of the uninstallation and installation of a new Nordex N149 blade.
The operation was part of ACCIONA Energía’s strategy to identify new solutions for wind turbine installation and maintenance for the upcoming generation of turbines.
This was BladeRunner’s first operation with blades over 20 tons and 70 meters, confirming the applicability of this technology for all the current onshore blade’s market, only nine months after the entry into market last year in a first maneuver in France, where it replaced a six times lighter blade. The trial planned by both Spanish companies confirmed the ability of the system to install and uninstall a representative unit of the new generation of extra-large blades that will dominate the market in the following years, and that currently require large cranes for installation and maintenance.
BladeRunner is based on the installation of small equipment on the hub of the wind turbine, which is used to directly manipulate the blade, which ascends and descends in a vertical position. The system is connected directly to the inserts or t-bolts of the blade root, which avoids exerting force on its aerodynamic surface, eliminating the risk of cracks appearing in the handling area, which are becoming increasingly critical as the blades grow in weight and size.