Approximately 45 km off the Borkum Islands in the North Sea, the Merkur offshore wind farm is in development – and it’s set to be one of the biggest of its kind in Germany. With a project capacity of 396 MW, it will supply renewable power to more than 500,000 homes. PALFINGER MARINE is proud to be supplying 66 platform cranes (PSM 400) and has recently won the retrofit contract, too.


Wind cranes have to be serviced once a year, with annual service contracts generally including a service and inspection campaign. The scope of service depends on various country regulations – wind cranes in German seas, for example, require yearly UVV approval. Our ability to safely and efficiently service cranes relies hugely on the weather. “Annual service is a very seasonal business, with high season between April and June,” says Frank van der Tuijn, Service Coordinator, Wind Cranes. “You can’t go offshore in bad weather – and this can be as often as 50% of the time.” When the weather allows, the service engineers leave their onshore base and go out to the site by boat. Usually working in teams of two or three, they service two cranes per day.


PALFINGER MARINE’s service engineers are based in Schiedam (the Netherlands), Odense (Denmark), and Dägeling (Germany), too. That’s where commissioning and service jobs are coordinated and handled.


Frank van der Tuijn, Service Coordinator, Wind Cranes

The service experts located in Salzburg (Austria) serve as consultants for complex inquiries, modification projects and warranty cases. They give support and training to PALFINGER MARINE service engineers. As far as the training is concerned, “all of our engineers have a Global Wind Organisation (GWO) certification, and we invest in comprehensive product training, so they can get to know our cranes by heart. This is just one part of being an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) – an indication of the high quality of service we provide,” Roland Pirzl, Service Manager Wind Cranes, points out. “Another massive plus of being an OEM is that all spare parts come from us, thus ensuring the availability of these parts for a crane’s lifetime and longer.”


Service Expert of Wind Cranes, Steven Klein, played a central role in commissioning the 66 cranes for the Merkur project, which took place at the transition piece (TP) construction yard in Spain. Along with three service engineers from the Schiedam office, they then ran full-function tests on all of the cranes.

During the commissioning job, Steven realised that the cranes required a modification in the slewing area. He and the expert team in Salzburg set to work developing a tailor-made slewing limitation kit, a tweak that greatly optimises the cranes’ functionality. “We always strive to find the best solution for every client and every project,” Steven highlights. The modification work will be implemented off shore by our service engineers. After the successful commissioning, the TPs were transported to Eemshaven in the Netherlands, from where they are shipped for off shore installation, a process that is currently underway. What’s more, PALFINGER MARINE also runs operator trainings for the Merkur offshore wind farm and has trained and certified over 100 people to safely work with our cranes since February 2018.

Commissioning of 66 PSM 400 at the TP construction yard in Spain.


PALFINGER MARINE was contracted to conduct the annual service for several other wind farms: Rampion, Racebank, Hohe See, Borkum Riff grund, Teesside, Veja Mate, Godewind, Hornsea, Gemini and WODS. Needless to say, it’s a busy time for us – and there are no signs of things slowing down. In fact, the potential is huge. After all, PALFINGER MARINE is already the supplier of almost 2,600 wind cranes, plus 1,000 more from Noreq Acta through the recent acquisition of Harding. And, as annual service tenders run on a yearly basis, there’s definitely more to come. Market development is also on our side. Due to European efforts to reduce CO2, wind turbines are being used more and more to produce energy. No wonder, then, that we here at PALFINGER MARINE are excited to see how the future of off shore wind energy will look. And how the work of our service engineering team will grow in scope.

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