Title:
METHOD FOR MOUNTING A ROTOR BLADE OF A WIND POWER INSTALLATION WITHOUT USING A CRANE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
It has already long been known to use mobile cranes for mounting rotor blades to a wind power installation. Such cranes pick up the rotor blade at the base of the wind power installation and take it to the rotor blade connection of the hub of the wind power installation so that the rotor blade can be connected to the hub. That connection is usually made by screw means, in which case screw bolts are let into the connecting flange of the rotor blade and project into corresponding bores in the rotor blade connection of the hub so that nuts can be screwed on to the screw bolts. The object of the invention is attained by a blade mounting method having the features of claim 1. Advantageous developments are set forth in the appendant claims. A method of mounting or dismantling a rotor blade of a wind power installation without using a crane to a rotor blade connection on a hub of a rotor of the wind power installation, wherein at least one cable is stretched between a part in the hub region of the wind power installation and the bottom region of the wind power installation and the rotor blade is moved along the cable upwardly upon mounting or downwardly upon dismantling.



Inventors:
Wobben, Aloys (Aurich, DE)
Application Number:
12/267333
Publication Date:
03/05/2009
Filing Date:
11/07/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
416/244R, 29/889
International Classes:
F03D9/00; B23P11/00; F03D1/00; F03D11/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
EDGAR, RICHARD A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SEED INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW GROUP LLP (SEATTLE, WA, US)
Claims:
1. 1-5. (canceled)

6. A wind power installation comprising: a pylon supported on a foundation; a machine housing accommodating a generator and a rotor connectable to the generator, said machine housing having a hub region, wherein the rotor includes a rotor blade connection adapted to receive a rotor blade having a connecting flange; at least one cable extending between the hub region of the machine housing of the wind power installation and a bottom region of the wind power installation; and a winch device dimensioned and adapted to couple to the rotor blade and to the at least one cable and adapted to move the rotor blade relative to the at least one cable for mounting or dismantling the rotor blade.

7. The wind power installation of claim 6, wherein the at least one cable extends substantially parallel to the pylon.

8. The wind power installation of claim 6, wherein two cables extend in mutually parallel relationship between the hub region and the bottom region of the wind power installation.

9. (canceled)

10. The wind power installation of claim 8, further comprising a guide device coupled to one of the two cables and dimensioned and adapted to couple to a region of the rotor blade remote from the connecting flange, the guide device adapted to guide the rotor blade between the two cables, to prevent contact between the cable and the rotor blade and a deflection of the rotor blade.

11. (canceled)

12. The wind power installation of claim 1, wherein the winch device has a first state of operation and a second state of operation, the winch device adapted to move the rotor blade from the bottom region to the hub region in the first state of operation, and the winch device adapted to move the rotor blade from the hub region to the bottom region in the second state of operation.

13. A mounting apparatus for a wind power installation comprising: a cable extending between a hub region of the wind power installation and a ground region of the wind power installation; and a winch coupled to the cable, the winch configured to couple to a rotor blade and to carry the rotor blade between the ground region and the hub region.

14. The mounting apparatus of claim 13, further comprising: a second cable extending substantially parallel to the cable; and a second winch coupled to the second cable, the second winch configured to couple to the rotor blade and to move synchronously with the winch to carry the rotor blade between the ground region and the hub region.

15. A method for mounting a rotor blade to a wind power installation, the method comprising: positioning a rotor blade near a ground region of a wind power installation; coupling a cable between a hub region of the wind power installation and the ground region; coupling the rotor blade to the cable; moving the rotor blade along the cable from the ground region to the hub region; and mounting the rotor blade at the hub region.

16. A method for dismantling a rotor blade from a wind power installation, the method comprising: coupling a cable between a hub region of a wind power installation and a ground region of the wind power installation; coupling a rotor blade to the cable near the hub region; dismantling the rotor blade from the hub region; and moving the rotor blade along the cable from the hub region to the ground region.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention concerns a method for mounting a rotor blade of a wind power installation without using a crane and a wind power installation implementing said method.

2. Description of the Related Art

It has already long been known to use mobile cranes for mounting rotor blades to a wind power installation. Such cranes pick up the rotor blade at the base of the wind power installation and take it to the rotor blade connection of the hub of the wind power installation so that the rotor blade can be connected to the hub. That connection is usually made by screw means, in which case screw bolts are let into the connecting flange of the rotor blade and project into corresponding bores in the rotor blade connection of the hub so that nuts can be screwed on to the screw bolts and in that way the rotor blade is fixed to the hub.

As published state of the art attention is directed in particular to the book by Hau, Erich: Windkraftanlagen, 1996. It is also known, in place of a mobile crane, to use a stationary crane which is mounted on the machine housing of the wind power installation. That stationary crane is provided with a cable winch and a winch drive so that the rotor blade at the base of the wind power installation is drawn upwardly to the rotor blade connection and can then be connected thereto.

A disadvantage of mobile cranes is that they must always be on site when the rotor blades are to be mounted to the hub of the wind power installation with such cranes. As almost all other parts of the machine housing are also fitted with those mobile cranes, the rotor blade must be on the building site at the same time with those parts, in order to be able to make best possible use of the mobile cranes, so that all essential parts of the machine housing of the wind power installation, together with all rotor parts, can be mounted with a single use of the crane. If however it is not possible for the rotor blades to be delivered to the building site at the correct time, then either the crane has to wait for the arrival of the rotor blade or as an alternative thereto the crane has to be brought to the site again so that the blade mounting operation can be effected when the rotor blades are delivered.

A disadvantage of stationary cranes is that usually they can also only be mounted on the machine housing of the wind power installation by means of a mobile crane and in addition, if such stationary cranes remain on the machine housing, they are only extremely rarely used so that the costs involved with such stationary crane installations are scarcely reasonably related to the benefit thereof.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The aim of the invention is to avoid the above-indicated disadvantages and in particular to provide an inexpensive alternative for the blade mounting operation.

That object is attained by a blade mounting method having the features of claim 1. Advantageous developments are set forth in the appendant claims.

With the method according to the invention it is possible to forego the use of a crane for the blade mounting operation. At least the rotor blade is not taken by means of a mobile crane to the rotor blade connection of the hub of the wind power installation. Rather, the invention proposes stretching at least one cable and preferably two cables in parallel relationship with the pylon of the wind power installation between the hub region of the machine housing of the wind power installation and the bottom region at the base of the pylon of the wind power installation. If now those cables receive pass-through winches and those pass-through winches are connected to the hub connection end of the rotor blade, then the pass-through winches can raise the rotor blade on the taut cables to the hub of the wind power installation. When the respective hub is moved with the associated connection into the 6 o'clock position, then the rotor blade with its hub connection can be moved directly to the rotor blade connection on the hub, the screw bolts can be introduced directly into the holes provided for same in the hub and the rotor blade can then be directly connected to the hub. Subsequently to the entire rotor blade mounting procedure the cable can be removed and used again on a further site.

The advantage of the method according to the invention is that on the one hand it is possible to entirely forego the use of a mobile crane for mounting the blades, but on the other hand there is no need for a stationary crane in order to mount (remove) a rotor blade to the hub. In addition the tools which are necessary for blade mounting in accordance with the method of the invention can also be used in relation to other wind power installations, which is usually not possible when stationary crane installations are involved.

In addition the tool which is required for the invention to carry out the method according to the invention is of a very simple nature, with the mounting being sufficiently safe and secure.

If two cables are stretched fast from the hub region of the wind power installation to the bottom region, and each cable carries a pass-through winch, then the drive for the winches can be effected both synchronously and also individually (asynchronously) in order thus in the best possible way to move the rotor blade to the blade connection of the hub in accurate fitting relationship. To provide for mutually superposed positioning of the screw bolts of the rotor blade with the corresponding bores in the rotor blade connection, it is also possible for the rotor blade connection itself to be turned, as in the subsequent pitch mode of operation, so that the correct screw bolts are in the holes intended for same and are fixedly connected to the hub.

If the wind power installation has three rotor blades, it is advantageous if one of the cables is carried by a (rotatable) shaft or a shaft trunnion of the wind power installation so that, upon rotation of the hub, that cable always remains taut and does not have to be set up afresh in order to prepare the blade mounting procedure for a further rotor blade.

Only the cable which is held in the front part of the hub, the so-called spinner, has to be transposed upon rotation of the hub through 120° (in the case of a rotor with three rotor blades) in such a way that, for the blade mounting operation, the cable is disposed parallel to the rotor blade connection of the hub to be fitted with the blade, and is oriented vertically. Such conversion however is relatively simple and can be effected without a very great deal of time and cost.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

The invention is described by way of example hereinafter by means of an embodiment illustrated in the drawing, wherein FIG. 1 shows a side view of a wind power installation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows a side view of a wind power installation 1 comprising a pylon 2 and a machine housing 3 which is disposed on the pylon and which accommodates a generator 4 and a rotor 5 with a hub 8, the generator and the rotor being held by a shaft trunnion 6 which is mounted on a machine carrier 7 of the machine housing. The hub 8 itself has a rotatably mounted rotor blade connection 9 having an annular flange with a plurality of bores, through which screw bolts 10 on the connecting flange 11 of the rotor blade 12 can be fitted in the mounting procedure, so that the rotor blade can be screwed to the rotor blade connection of the hub by fitting nuts on the screw bolts. The rotor blade connection is further provided with a usual pitch drive (not shown) in order in that way to rotate the entire rotatable part of the rotor blade to a desired pitch angle.

Two cables 14, 15 are stretched substantially parallel to each other and parallel to the pylon 2 from the hub region 8 of the machine housing 3 of the wind power installation 1 to the bottom region 13 (foundation) of the wind power installation. Each of the cables carries a pass-through winch 16, 17 which in turn are releasably connected to the connection 11 of the rotor blade 12, which is at the hub end.

In the region remote from the hub end, that is to say in the end region 18 of the rotor blade 12 (the rotor blade tip), the cable has a guide device 19 and a receiving device 20 which on the one hand receives that region of the rotor blade and at the same time guides the rotor blade 12 as it is pulled up along the cables so that the rotor blade does not come into contact with the cables, and which on the other hand prevents deflection of the rotor blade out of the desired raising or lowering direction.

Each pass-through winch includes a drive (not shown) which in operation moves the winch upwardly along the cable so that the rotor blade 12 which is connected thereto is pulled upwardly.

The drive for the pass-through winches is controllable, but nonetheless the arrangement may also involve a synchronous drive for the pass-through winches so that they run up or down the cable in parallel relationship with each other and always at the same height.

Independent (asynchronous) operation of the winches has the advantage that in that way the rotor blade connection can be inclined through a given angle if that is necessary in order to insert the screw bolts of the connecting flange of the rotor blade into the corresponding rotor blade connection on the hub.

Fixing of the cables to the ground can be effected by suitable weighted plates (foundation) in which are disposed eyes 21 which receive the cable which in turn is lashed fast to a further winch 22. The fixing of a cable to the machine housing can also be effected in a similar manner, but it is also possible for that cable which is carried by the shaft trunnion to be accommodated by a so-called sling, a textile belt which is slung around the shaft trunnion. Likewise the second cable can be fixed with a sling which is slung around the desired rotor blade connection of the rotor hub. It will be noted however that this rotor blade connection is disposed in the region of the spinner, that is to say the hub cowling which rotates with the rotor, and therefore has to be respectively freshly fitted from one rotor blade to another.

If a conventional steel cable, for example a 14 mm cable, is used as the cable, a rotor blade can already be raised therewith out any problems.

Instead of two cables however it is also possible to provide only one single cable along which the rotor blade is raised and taken to the rotor blade connection of the hub. That is possible in particular if there is a corresponding guide means which holds the rotor blade in the desired reference or target position.

That guide means can be for example a rigid member which is guided on a cable and which ensures that the rotor blade remains in a substantially perpendicular position when being pulled up.

After the blade mounting operation each cable can be easily removed and used at a fresh site.

The method according to the invention is also suitable for dismantling a blade, which is usually effected when the blade, for whatever reasons, has to be removed from the wind power installation and/or then either repaired or replaced by another blade.

The method according to the invention is also suitable for raising or lowering other parts of the wind power installation which are required in the machine housing of the wind power installation, without using a crane.

All of the above U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, U.S. patent applications, foreign patents, foreign patent applications and non-patent publications referred to in this specification and/or listed in the Application Data Sheet, are incorporated herein by reference, in their entirety.

From the foregoing it will be appreciated that, although specific embodiments of the invention have been described herein for purposes of illustration, various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not limited except as by the appended claims.