International Engineering Group Designs Foundations That Hold up to 500 Wind Turbines and Towers
CONCORD, Mass : Half of the world’s offshore wind power capacity sits on wind turbine foundations designed by international engineering group Ramboll Oil & Gas using SolidWorks® 3D CAD software.
Ramboll Oil & Gas which is a division of Danish engineering group Ramboll, has either completed or is currently involved in 20 offshore wind projects in Denmark, Italy, Russia, Sweden, the U.K. and U.S. The company has 50 percent of the international market for offshore wind power platforms, and 75 percent in the U.K. Its engineers use SolidWorks alongside the company’s own offshore structures analysis software to design the foundations that support as many as 500 turbines generating clean electricity from offshore wind currents.
“We have a reputation for being innovative. Innovation has helped us gain a commanding share of the offshore wind turbine market, and SolidWorks is one of the tools that helps us innovate freely,” said Ramboll Oil & Gas’ Engineering Director Kai Birger Olsen. “SolidWorks enables us to produce designs faster than our competitors. When a project comes in, we can calculate the operation of up to 100 turbines in one go, analyzing many factors such as the wave loads, and rapidly produce designs that take them all into consideration.”
Foundations account for up to a third of an offshore wind power project’s costs, and consist of almost everything but the wind turbines and towers themselves: piles, transition pieces, platforms, ladders, and boat landings. The foundations, penetrating as deep as 30 meters into the seabed, must resist constant pounding from tides, waves and currents, and provide a safe working environment for maintenance crews operating in all kinds of weather.
Ramboll engineers model the wind turbine arrays in SolidWorks so they can be easily modified for maximum wind efficiency and to avoid clashes that can occur when different contractors are working on the same assembly. The same models enable engineers to plan where on the platforms crew members can walk and work safely during operations and maintenance, and where obstructions can hamper operation.
“With SolidWorks, we can limit obstructions and discover clashes during the design phase so there are no issues when we send the turbine out to the platform,” said Ramboll Whitbybird Senior Design Engineer Mike Hallett. “Also, when you’re working in a harsh environment like an offshore site, you have to focus on safety. Clients have asked us to show them how people will move around the platform. With SolidWorks, we can give them an exact 3D representation.”
Ramboll relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller Solid Solutions Management for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.
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