Sunday, September 1, 2019

Crane Wrecks in Wind Turbine Farms

Big cranes are needed not only to build wind turbines, but to maintain them. I've noticed that another expense from "free wind" is the cost of crane accidents while working in a wind turbine farm. The accidents generally occur when they are travelling from one wind turbine to another. They are going across farmer fields that might have unknown soft spots or sink holes (e.g. a covered basement in one case) along the way. The contractors can mitigate the risks by using mats, but it costs money to own and move mats. And at least one contractor was doing it wrong --- laying the mat timbers lengthwise rather than across the "road." Many of these accidents involve the MLC650 because they are big enough to build the towers. And they are evidently well behaved enough that supervisors don't think they need mats. The one operator fatality I know of was when a MLC650 fell forward and the counterweights came off the trays and fell on this cab.

Mike Lewellyn posted a wreck
[Fortunately, no one was hurt. The boom went backwards on a MLC650. It was travelling backwards.To summarize the comments, it was probably a combination of high winds and not using mats on soft ground.]
For the Love of Tractors posted
Hey look at that Panther!
David Sells What's up with the Manitowoc ?
For the Love of Tractors Hit a sink hole while putting up a windmill
Randall Feinen For the Love of Tractors I knew it would be a windmill fail.
[This might be another view of the same wreck.]

Samuel Bennet posted two photos.
Kyle Baker That’s what happens when you loose the load on a vpc crane without the kickstand.
Brent Athey See that little green thing in the second picture ? That tells me the ground will be unstable to walk a 1,000,000 lb crane w/o an mat road.
Chuck Ellis Kyle Baker didn't looked balanced out to me 54° is where that boom should have been.
Bill Muth Man there’s gotta be a surplus of 650 counterweights and sideframes now a days.
[According to the comments, not only did they skip laying mats, the boom was all the way up. The high boom maximized the height of its center of gravity. You would want a low center of gravity while moving. It fell backwards because it was travelling backwards.]


Pete Reid commented on Samuel's post and has his own post

Rex Linck commented on Samuel's post
The heel is down.
[By the heel, he means the red thing on the right of the photo that extends below the counterweight rails. This is the first time I have seen the term "heel." "Kickstand" is the term I normally see for this safety device. Note that they are using two rows of timbers for their matting. Also note that the kickstand is far enough above the ground that it would not do its job in case the crane looses its load.]

Tyler James posted three photos with the comment: "Windmill work. I hope they're ok." This one fell forward instead of backwards. Ida Grove IA in 2015 or 2016.
Steven Haring Yup the unpinned counterweights is what is the worst part about this situation, ya your not supposed to turn them over but shit happens and tons of steel not strapped down isn't a good thing.
[I had noticed the counterweights had fallen off their platform in this wreck. Note that in the above Indiana wreck the counterweight stack remained intact. But that stack ended up being more vertical than in this wreck.]



Aaron Walters commented on Tyler's posting
Michael Angelo Someone got lazy and didn't feel like moving the mats.
Tha Ropers Barefootn again, O' well.
[I'd say the mats were needed, crosswise.]
David Kinder joined the group and posted several accidents. Many of the photos are of the "boom went backwards because of a sinkhole" accident. Not all of his photos are duplicates of what has been recorded above.

David Kinder posted four photos.



David Kinder posted
David Kinder posted two photos.

David Kinder posted

Stephen Robinson commented on Phoenix O'Brien's post that was shared by Buddy Bailey
[Another comment indicated it was an LTM 11200-0.1. It was lifting a complete hub and blades assembly during high winds. It is not clear if the wind was off the chart when they started the lift. If so, there was a gust. Now that I think about it, wind turbines would be built in areas that do have sustained high winds.]

Troy Bistodeau posted
Couple grove 890E’s loading a rolled over 890E. Didn’t end well.
Troy Bistodeau The operator was roading from 1 tower to the next on a dirt road and drove off the side and rolled. No seat belt. He ejected out of the cab and then you know what happened.
Nick Gerard Driving them big RTs around anything less than perfect ground really stresses me.
Ryan Abbott From everybody's calls when it happened, there had been a lot of rain, roads and edges were soft.
Greg Ory He was from Denver my mom had told me about this like two years ago
[Some of the comments expressed concern about using the tie down lugs as lifting lugs. It sounds like they were lucky they did not have another accident while putting it on the lowboy.]

Bruce Steinfurth posted, rotated left
2250 at Iowa windmill farm don't remember what year guessing 2005. Traveling with boom at too high of angle.
[Note the counterweights under the crawlers that are shoved into the ground. It fell backwards.]
Dustin McGovney GE towers. Nextera site.
Don Ogawa They need to stop trying to out do each other on how not to move a crane and doing it anyway! None of these people seem to step up and claim their “stupid” when they do this, they break their arms off tapping themselves on the back when they get away with something that was unsafe to begin with. Lol. Sign your work wreck artists! Be as proud as you were when you got away with it! Being safe is not stupid.
[There were a few comments about the operator's boss pushing for unsafe operations like doing a lift that is off the crane's charts because time is money. They referred to one contractor who has had six deaths.
Corkey Crane I ran that crane in Maxer configuration after it was rebuilt. Ghost electrical problems were a nightmare.

David Cox commented on Bruce's posting
Indiana 2014
Johnathon Purvis Glad the weights missed the cab

Andrew Erickson posted two photos with the comment: "Found on another page no details." An MLC300.
Jon Dyer This is a normal thing for the company. They are so big, they have lobbyist in DC. They won't get run off. It took them flipping a brand new 999, crushing a brand new company truck, destroying an ESS (the brain of a wind turbine) and pancaking a base section for them to fire someone.

Michael Best That don't look too bad to dig out. Granted I wouldn't have allowed to get that far along. Since it's a Blattner crane it's on a wind site. 
Laying mats for a mile walk is slow going. Been there done that. 
I have always said I like winter for wind farms. Cranes don't sink when ground is froze in the upper Midwest.

I can't find the comment that said the crane worked on mats while at a windmill while, but when it moved to another windmill, they did not bother to use mats for the trip. And some observed that he was at least able to sink evenly and not fall over.



James Akey posted
Gary Calhoun Michael John is this you?
Michael John Sshh!!!    Howd you get pictures already
Mark Dilts I think it was 170/170   She "was" tall...
Steve Ellsworth They say he did it empty hook going after rigging
John Moran Another wind farm job
Jay Pettet Is this the one in Shelby North Carolina?
Fred Dugger Yes
[It is an 888 and the counterweights are pinned. Otherwise this could have been a lot worse.]
R.j. Dozier commented on James' posting
This accident was not at a wind farm, but it will increase the cost of wind generated electricity.

Pete Reid posted
Darran Budden the luffer next to it was put down, classic case of “not my job."
Rommel Pascual backlift nice
Joe Frank Anthony Bet he couldn’t do that again if he tried 1000 times...
Michael Green That could of ended a lot worse.
Josiah Shirley Hero, he saved the whole thing by lining it up perfectly like that! Good job op!!!
David Cresswell The judges are giving him a solid 8.7 on his choreography, but a disappointing 3.5 on the overall presentation of his routine. His angle of approach is superb, his balance, sublime. He mastered every move of his routine perfectly, every adjustment was what we’d expect out of such a driven individual, but his final dismount leaves a lot to be desired. He just can’t afford to make these mistakes at this stage of the competition.
David Goekler David Cresswell now how do you say that when he “STUCK” the final landing.
David Cresswell Coz he stuck it in the wrong direction??

Ben Stalvey posted, cropped
Craig Bowman Guess there was an old house that was demolished there and the basement wasn't. Nobody knew about the basement .
Ben Stalvey shared a post of two photos with the comment: "Everyone is ok."
Ben StalveyBen and 4 others manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Manitowoc Crane Enthusiasts. I believe this is the fourth of fifth accident involving a MLC 650 now.
Dennis Felax 100% true, putting 2 feet of good stone on 4 feet of garbage does nothing, Geo fabric is a big key.
Justin Martin William Oldani yeah they put stuff down.
Philip EgnatzPhilip and 4 others manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Manitowoc Crane Enthusiasts. Ben Stalvey need a few hands to count how many red rigs turned over on a Mortensen job.
Kevin Schuster They were on mats. Then they decided to crawl off them and Barfoot it. Right side started going down. It stopped. Started crawling back on mats and over it went. Kinda what I heard
Jason Gray Mark G. Esser Sr. First thing I would be asking for as an insurance investigator would be for a copy of the companies job hazard analysis and safe operating procedures then a copy of the operators manual, Which they would have or wouldn’t be following anyways. Claim denied. Due diligence failure.
Dominick Machnicki North east Nebraska by Sioux City
Michael Ingrassia Allen Nebraska
Richard Greene I haven't touched a crane in 25 years. I haul components to the sites now. When I bring up a safety concern and it is ignored I hand them a pen and paper and tell them to write down my complaint and their reasons for why my complaint is unreasonable. 
That's typically all it takes to shut things down. If they can't put their words it in writing and sign for it then their words are B.S. 
I will push the limits at times , and I have pushed them to far before. Luckily nobody has ever been hurt and I've never damaged any equipment. We all like to overcome things and succeed. 
But Wind Sites are fast becoming danger zones. The way I look at it is if you have to argue with a construction company because the main haul road is below spec then what else are they doing wrong.
Typically the haul road is in great shape up to the construction trailers. They do dust control and maintain that section perfectly. But as soon as you pass the site offices everything turns to crap within feet. And the further you go the worse it gets. Their safety getting to their office is important. But beyond that....your on your own and they could care less. Well that is unless a state or local inspector is scheduled to show up to inspect the site.

Mikey Branham Can’t lower boom with 320 foot stick I won’t carry its own block.
Ben StalveyBen and 4 others manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Manitowoc Crane Enthusiasts. Mikey Branham then that MLC 650 should have been taken apart and moved. After all its a brand new model and can be transported fairly easy compared to some other models.
Mikey Branham 20 truckloads
Dave Hoss Little That wouldn't happen as much if the oiler used a probe to find the cable trays and soft areas where you can then mat or plate the bad areas. Most the time when they go it's because it's where the ran the cable trays and didn't compact the area so it will support equipment. I've seen rt's forklifts and man lifts go down to frames. The crawlers are way more heavy.
Gerald Duysen They had three 650s at Allen, Nebraska when they started up. I was working in Yankton, SD and went over to Allen to look at the rigs. The area was real hilly and very soft soil. I thought they might lose one there.
Joel Ackerman Why does it seem more frequently with a MLC UNIT VS 16000 or a 18000?
Brett Laxton Mlc650 walks the fastest and cables the fastest our bosses will never get rid of them until they kill us all.
Joel Ackerman Brett Laxton I'm thinking the opposite. After they wreck enough of them they no longer can get work they will be forced to keep the ml650 on building sites not Windfarm. It's always a Windfarm when these seem to go down. 
Maybe the clients start blacklisting it..



Howard Hultquist posted
Yeeee haaaa
Jason Irwin Looks like he's already boomed all the way up too.
[This is why they invented different ways to increase the distance (leverage) between the boom hinge and the counter weight tray. It was evidently lifting the nacelle of a wind turbine while there was too much wind.]

Ulises Crane posted three photos.
[You can tell from the bottom of the first photo that these photos were taken by someone up in the nacelle who was ready to help attach the lift. Note the 3/13/2008 date on the photos.]
Erin Ainsworth Holy crap. I work for mammoet out of the calgary taxi branch and i know that they are not cool with people posting pics of this nature, fireable offence. Hope everyone is okay.


Some photos of a 16000 lifting a complete hub+blades assembly, then photos of a 21-year old superintendent driving the crane off the mats and getting it stuck in the mud because the operator refused to drive off the mats! The contractor, KR Wind, was kicked off the job two days later. In fact, looking at the photos, this is about the above accident.

Rocky Dobkins posted
Two cranes down
[It looks like a hydro crane fell sideways and its boom crushed a service truck. The service truck probably had a small crane boom for changing tires or other parts. If this was an accident while unloading, why was the boom up???]

Chuck Ellis posted three photos with the comment: "Wind blew one over on the other one."
[The comments indicate it was a wind crane design that was blown over onto the crawler crane.]
Paul Bingham And I still have to argue with idiots every day about how wind effects the boom!




And the day after I finally publish, I come across another wreck. I see wind turbines in the background so I'm leaping to the conclusion that this wreck happened doing wind turbine work. It has 9 axles. That is about as big as they get.

Rune Rikstad posted two photos with the comment: "Ready for rescuing the LTM11200."


Rune commented on his own post
Crane is on the road again,but dirty.
Anthony Cammack Rune Rikstad good job brother, BIG recovery when it takes 2 1500’s , one in a Y-guy!
Chuck Ellis posted five photos:
[It was setting in a lift position at a tower rather than travelling across a field to another tower.]
Cosme Perez Looked it up back then and was told they were using the remote, no one hurt but pride.
TerrynJenn Tubbs Don’t look like the frog legs were on. uckner is bad about not putting them on if it close to chart and they think they can get away with it. [So now I have to wonder: what are "frog legs?"]
Anthony Sarasti I hope nobody got hurt looks like wind could have been a factor ??
Chuck Ellis This was in Norway in 2012 or 13. Just a memory.
Steve Ellsworth Tray on 1600 got like 300tons Full load
Trevor Stinson QLY1560
Brandon Durocher Chuck Ellis what are the frog legs? Never been around a big crawler before.... [Well, at least I'm not the only ignorant one.]
Wayne Muscio-Whipline Where's the frog legs????? Stupid to try to boom up without any frog legs!!!!!
Roger Galloway Wayne Muscio-Whipline I was wondering the same thing! I'm thinking someone tried to boom it down without them. Hopefully someone learns from this.

Don Kemerling Flying counterweights are a terrible hazard for an operator.
Timothy Pollock That looks terrible, I really hope he faired a bit better than the cab.




I'm guessing that the following three posts were for the same accident.

Chuck Ellis posted, cropped
[At first, I questioned why would someone walk off mats that are so high? Then I read a comment that speculated that the mats were added after the accident as part of an attempt to back the crane out of the problem. Another comment pointed out that they are laying the mat timbers incorrectly. They are supposed to be laid crosswise to spread the load over more dirt.]
Chuck Ellis posted, cropped
Jason Cordell That guy standing on that crane Mat which is in the wrong direction is about to go for a ride.
Chuck Ellis posted, cropped
Hoby Mitchell Man these wind farms are dangerous.
Barry A. Cole Lucky he's not picking up boom outta the mud. There's still time to wreck boom, if they try the clean and jerk method to get it outta there. Or wait, it'll keep sinking. Then you can scoop the boom into a dumpster.
Charlie Ward has to be a "wind farm" project ? only cost effective if they don't use enough mats for crane stability walking through a cow pasture.

Chuck Ellis posted three photos.
Ryan Chapman Looks to me like it was a ground failure
[I gather from the comments that SANY is a Chinese brand.]



Chuck Ellis posted three Mar 13, 2008] photos.
The comments discuss how long it takes to stab a blade. Best case was 20 or 10 minutes. An your is not unusual. One has held a blade 7+ hours. The point is, it can be long enough that the weather changes while the blade is in the air. The comments agree that a lattice boom crane tolerates wind gusts better than a hydro crane.
Justin Kasowski
Ken Tonge It wasn’t windy.....just about to connect when an unforecast gust took it.
Ken Tonge 16 m/s took the whole thing over the outriggers.

Crane Mr. Crane México posted [LTM1500]
Pete Reid shared
Nigel Lindley Pete Reid yeah that machine was back to work in the Uk for Mammoet for a while before she was sold abroad



Sometimes the wrecks happen even before they get to the turbine farm.
(new window)

And not all of the accident expense of wind energy happens because of crane wrecks.
(new window)

A video of the LR11000 falling over  Was this the crane we see in the following video? There were 339 comments, so I did not dig through them. But I did spot that it was a bare rental from Buckner and the following photo. I don't know if it was at this site.
Chase Larson comment on a video
Did hitting the tower make it easier or harder to recover the crane? (Some comments indicate it would have been easier if the boom fell all of the way.)
Heavy Cranes posted
What are the chances?
Before people “guessing” what went on. A freak storm overnight caused this. Imagine turning up to work the next morning to find this!
[Some comments about why wasn't the boom lowered overnight. (The arugument against is additional tension on the boom line.) Also, one commented that there is no evidence of load spreading mats.]
Jay Hindmarch: This was in Austria in about 2006 [a consensus specifies 2013], we were aware of the storm forecast overnight and commented that the boom should’ve been dropped but the operator wasn’t interested. Very difficult recovery, many hours, much money and a lot of shouting.
Paul Lamster: was in Andau - Burgenland - Austria, laying very long there.
Sérgio Pereira: Paul Lamster almost 2 months.
Pete Reid shared

At 1:06, you can see where the farmer had to spray around the boom. (source)
John Hartline: LR1600 if I remember right.
Chris Johnson: The ruts tell the story.
Roger Bozarth: I seen where one just fell in in Illinois. [Jul 2021]
[There were several comments about no crane mats.]

A video of recovering an 8-axle rollover. I don't know if this is at a windmill farm. I include it here because it is similar to the above accident. Thank goodness the slider bar works well.

1 comment:

  1. You can take any photos I have on wrecks. Getting the word out is job # 1