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Bespoke cranes for bespoke wind farms

XCMG designs bespoke cranes for wind farm construction and maintenance.

XCMG’s ANZ Crane Manager, Stephen Broomfield, discusses the breadth of bespoke crane options designed by XCMG to account for larger turbines.

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According to the International Energy Agency, as of 2020, the world was adding 114 gigawatts of electricity to the global supply of energy per year. To reach the target of Net Zero emissions by 2050 and keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius, as agreed upon in the 2015 Paris Climate Accords, the world will need to be adding 350 gigawatts of electricity powered by wind farms per year, tripling the current  demand. 

To achieve these targets, wind farms must increase in size and wind turbines must get bigger and increase their output. Already, such plans are in place: global renewable energy company, Vestas, has released a wind turbine design that features a hub height of 199m and produces 7.2 megawatts of electricity, making it the tallest wind turbine in the world, that will be available to the market by 2025. 

With the need for bigger turbines comes the need for bigger machinery; and, with wind power output having increased drastically in China, installing 328.48 gigawatts of windpower in 2021 alone, some of the world’s most wind farm-adept machinery is being produced on the East of the map to cope with the demand. Vestas’ 199m wind turbine is still to be introduced – currently, the record for the largest wind turbine is the Fujian province’s 16-megawatt Goldwind GWH252. According to XCMG’s ANZ Crane Manager, Stephen Broomfield, the mass of large wind turbines being produced in China is reflective of the “bespoke” machinery being designed to accommodate “larger wind farms”.

“China has identified a gap in the market, and XCMG has moved quickly to act, fill that void, and develop machines that can take us to Net Zero by 2050,” he says. 

“We’re designing our cranes in line with wind farm manufacturers to produce specific cranes that align with the new wind farm technology that is moving forward at a rapid rate.”


Evidence of this can be seen in the Chinese manufacturer’s design of a tower crane to accommodate larger wind farms. The electric-powered XGL1800 possesses a maximum lifting capacity of 138 tonnes, a maximum working range of 60m – at which it can lift 11.5 tonnes – and a maximum free-standing height of 114.5m. Additionally, the wind farm tower crane holds a maximum load moment of 1800 tonne-metres, and has all five-megawatt wind turbines covered, being spotted carrying out installations at heights of  170m. 

The benefits of using the tower crane aren’t just limited to its specs, however: the machine, with its compact nature, exerts very minimal ground pressure that, in tandem with its capacity to be powered electrically, results in a much smaller environmental footprint. Furthermore, the XGL1800 can also be fully erected to its maximum height in 24 hours, while also only requiring 18 hours to dismantle the machine, making it easier and quicker to navigate a jobsite. With a reduced need for support trucks and personnel comes financial savings and environmental benefits, says Stephen.

“The costs associated with powering a generator to then power a crane are minimal when compared to powering a crawler crane, or a mobile crane,” he says. “These tower cranes are bespoke machinery to accommodate the demand for taller turbines, and XCMG has delivered.”

XCMG designs bespoke cranes for wind farm construction and maintenance.
The XCC2600 working on a wind farm in  China. Image: XCMG.

XCMG hasn’t just limited itself to producing tower cranes for wind farm construction and maintenance, however. Two other such machines developed by the Chinese manufacturer that fit the bill are the XCC2000 and XCC2600; narrow track crawler cranes that don’t quite fit the definition of a telescopic crawler crane, but possess telescopic booms and are driven on crawler tracks. The XCC2000 is a machine designed by XCMG specifically to be a wind power crane. Possessing a maximum main boom length of 81.4m and extensions providing the crane with a maximum hoisting height of 155m, the narrow track crawler crane is the largest telescopic wind power crane China has exported to date. Utilising its wind tower jib extension, the crane can lift over 130 tonnes at heights of 145m, while also possessing a narrow chassis of 4.5m.

The XCC2600, on the other hand, features a maximum rated capacity of 500 tonnes at a radius of three metres, a main telescopic boom of 81.4m, and a maximum hook height of 173m using its wind tower jib extension. Also possessing a narrow chassis of just 4.5m, Stephen says the cranes’ high lifting capacities, long reach and compact dimensions mean the machines thrive in wind farm environments. Recently, this was evinced by the XCC2000’s performance in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it erected 20 wind turbines for an 84-megawatt wind farm in Livno. There, the crane overcame challenging conditions at 1500m above sea level during Bosnia’s winter – a period notorious for its strong winds and unpredictable weather. For Stephen, the two bottom-slewing, telescopic crawler cranes are reflective of XCMG’s commitment to providing the market with alternative options.

“The main goal is to continue providing solutions outside of the conventional options,” he says. “Rather than tell wind farm developers that it can’t be done, we want to ask them how high they need to go.”

XCMG designs bespoke cranes for wind farm construction and maintenance.
The narrow chassis of the XCC2600 and XCC2000 helps navigate tighter, more compact jobsites. Image: XCMG.
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