Human-free offshore lifting solutions

M. Leimeister, T. Balaam, P. Causon, D. Cevasco, M. Richmond, A. Kolios, F. Brennan

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With single elements weighing up to hundreds of tonnes and lifted to heights of 100 meters, offshore wind turbines can pose risks to personnel, assets, and the environment during installation and maintenance interventions. To increase safety during offshore lifts, this study focuses on solutions for human-free lifting operations. Ideas in the categories of logistics, connections, as well as guidance and control, were discussed and ranked by means of a multi-criteria decision analysis. Based upon 38 survey responses weighting 21 predefined decision criteria, the most promising concepts were selected. Logistically, pre-assembled systems would reduce the number of lifts and thus reduce the risk. A MATLAB-based code has been developed to optimise installation time, lifted weight, and number of lifts. Automated bolting and seafastening solutions have high potential to increase safety during the transport of the wind turbine elements and, additionally, speed up the process. Finally, the wind turbine should be lifted on top of the support structure without having personnel being under the load. A multi-directional mechanical guiding element has been designed and tested successfully in combination with visual guidance by cameras in a small-scale experiment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012030
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2018
EventGlobal Wind Summit 2018 - WindEurope Conference and WindEnergy Hamburg - Hamburg, Germany
Duration: 25 Sep 201828 Sep 2018


  • offshore energy
  • offshore wind turbines
  • tower cranes
  • safety engineering


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