Do wind turbines have elevators or lifts? The short answer is that it depends on the turbine itself.
Offshore wind turbines, for example, are incredibly tall, with an average height of 180 meters (590ft). This makes it difficult for workers to perform routine maintenance and repairs on wind turbines using conventional stairs.
For this reason, most wind manufacturers equip the towers with service lifts, which are small elevators that allow workers to travel up and down the tower quickly and safely. These are also known as work cages. However, not all wind turbines have them.
Many onshore turbines are shorter with an average height of around 90 meters (295ft) and are usually accessed using regular stairs and fall protection cables.
This article takes a closer look at wind turbine lifts, including challenges and how they are being addressed.
Challenges Facing Wind Turbine Lifts
The process of installing an elevator shaft requires a lot of welding. This isn’t a problem if you’re installing it in a building, but for wind turbines, this is a huge concern that can compromise the safety and stability of the whole tower.
To get around this problem, engineers went with simple cable-driven service lifts. This type of lift doesn’t require as much welding and is less likely to cause issues with the tower structure.
However, even with this solution, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed, such as the extreme wind and weather conditions that can affect the lift’s performance.
In addition, the cable-driven service lifts are not as fast as conventional elevators. As a result, it can take technicians a similar amount of time to go up or down the tower as when using stairs.