Memmingen, April 2023
The energy transition involves serious financial and logistical challenges – not least for the heavy haulage industry. Goldhofer, always a reliable all-round partner for customers, is again making its mark in the industry with its latest innovation. The company’s brand-new portfolio, which has already been tested in the field, enables cable drums of any size to be transported more efficiently than ever before.
The energy transition, i.e. the transformation of energy generation from fossil fuels to sustainable and socio-ecologically compatible alternatives, is an ambitious project for many national economies. Big-ger, more powerful, more efficient is the motto! These constantly growing demands are not only push-ing the infrastructure, the legislation and the components themselves to their limits; in the field of heavy haulage, too, increasingly efficient solutions are needed to transport more and more large and heavier loads to their destinations.
“Goldhofer has always seen itself as a pioneer for innovative and sustainable transportation solutions, as in the case of the revolutionary FTV 300 wind turbine blade carrier. In the meantime, the FTV 850 represents the third generation of this efficient transportation solution. Tower adapters and the BLADES steerable trailing dolly round off Goldhofer’s specialized portfolio for the transportation of wind turbine components. With the large numbers of systems sold, we have proven that customers can rely on our solutions in the long term,” says Robert Steinhauser, Vice President Sales & Service Transport Technology at Goldhofer.
Whereas the main emphasis has so far been on the development and upgrading of renewable energy plants, the focus is now shifting to downstream processes. New transmission lines and grids need to be built. The energy generated is being fed into increasingly intelligent networks for transmission to the end consumer. The construction of these smart grids is a major feat of logistics: The backbone of the new electricity highways is in the form of cables approx. 150 mm in diameter and up to two kilometers long, and they are transported to the site for laying between the transmission joint bays on huge cable drums.
The cable drums currently used for this purpose are three to five meters long and over four meters in diameter and weigh between 30 and 50 tons. They allow for cable lengths of about 1 km. For new projects such as the German South Link and South-East Link, cable drums with a length of approx. eight to twelve meters and weighing up to 100 t need to be transported. They are the key to cable lengths of up to two kilometers. Unreeling and pulling in the cables is a particular challenge, as this task can rarely be performed as part of the actual transport in a single operation using existing solutions. This means significantly higher costs for transportation and the unreeling equipment plus the relevant permits.
In cooperation with Energieanlagen Ramonat GmbH, Goldhofer has therefore developed a broad portfolio of solutions for transporting cable drums of different weights and sizes. “We have collaborated with Ramonat, who have so much experience of the market, to develop a system that not only consistently meets the needs of our customers with regard to transportation but also takes into account the special challenges of the unreeling process,” says Steinhauser. This makes it possible to act as sole provider on the market for all projects, with an enormous increase in efficiency.
The cable drum is transported on a special vessel deck in a Goldhofer heavy-duty (4+6) or (5+7) module combination. The solution developed has two particular advantages: Easily mounted hydraulic support legs allow the bridge to be raised to loading area height under full load so that the module combination can be moved under it. This significantly reduces overall length for the last mile for in-creased maneuverability on all types of construction sites, especially in combination with self-propelled modules.
In addition, the system includes integrated unreeling equipment with synchronized drive for jerk-free operation at the destination. “The new Goldhofer cable drum bridges give us everything we need. They are lighter and shorter than previous comparable solutions, offer easy handling, high maneuver-ability and cable unreeling – all in one,” says Stefan Ramonat, Managing Director of Energieanlagen Ramonat GmbH. “The cross-section of the bridge has been optimized to allow the cable drum to hug the ground for the lowest possible overall traveling height, corresponding to flange diameter. 100-ton drums can be transported on a (4+6) combination without exceeding the maximum axle load of 12 tons.”
“Another big advantage of this solution is that it is compatible with existing transport systems,” says Steinhauser. “With the help of an adapter, our unwinder can be retrofitted to Goldhofer vessel bridges in the customer's fleet for a significant reduction in capital layout.”
Finally, Goldhofer has already started on development work for cable drums of lower weights and sizes involving installation of the unreeling equipment on low-bed vessel bridges. The result will again be maximum economic efficiency.
“In developing this portfolio, we have attached great importance from the outset to ensuring that the right solution is always available to customers, whatever the size of the fleet and the number of cable drums to be transported,” says Steinhauser. “This enables our customers to contribute to grid expansion programs with unprecedented efficiency and cost-effectiveness and thus make a decisive contribution to the success of the energy transition.”