18 September, 2019

HPC helps to turn the wind turbine into the finished article

04 January, 2015
Mabey Bridge is a specialist supplier of high quality steel bridging, tubular structures and heavy plated steelwork which has helped to shape infrastructure development in the UK and around the world. Based in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, just a ‘stone’s throw’ from the Severn Bridge, Mabey Bridge is proud of its 165 years of design and engineering tradition and enjoys a reputation for innovation in engineering and in particular, bridge building. Working in partnership with designers, engineers, contractors and clients in both the public and private sectors, it currently has a production capacity approaching 100,000 tonnes a year. Grand scale In recent years the company has brought its experience and skills to bear on the development of renewable energy projects and the manufacture of on-shore wind turbine towers or, as they are referred to in the industry, canisters. By any measure these manufactured tubular steel structures are big. Depending on the final size of the turbine, the largest produce up to 3.6 megawatts and the smaller turbines generate 235 kW. Each supporting canister is made in either three or four sections, measures up to 36 metres in height, weighs up to 100 tonnes, have a steel thickness of up to 100mm and an overall diameter up to 5 metres. As part of a strategy to further develop its specialist capability for renewable energy manufacturing, Mabey Bridge made a significant investment to add another 30,000 sq ft to its already significant Newhouse manufacturing plant, enabling the production of an additional 100 turbine towers per year. An important part of this expansion was a new, larger fabricating facility to provide surface treatment processes such as blast cleaning using recycled steel grit, through to the final paint finishing stage. A reliable source of quality compressed air is a vital factor in this large scale, industrial manufacturing and finishing process. Prior to the extension project, Mabey Bridge had been impressed with the performance of its original HPC compressed air system, supplied, installed and maintained by HPC Authorised Distributor, Compressor Systems (Wales) Ltd. Ongoing energy efficiency The expansion of the surface treatment facility and the associated scaling-up of the fabricating and finishing processes demanded increased air capacity. However, it was also very important to ensure the ongoing energy efficiency of the system while coping with the new, greater variable demand. A key requirement identified in the early stages of the consultation process was that the compressors for the blast cleaning, paint shop spraying facility and the fabrication area needed to be connected and able to work together. With each system supplying compressed air to the other and depending on the workflow, it needed to be possible to meet a combined varying demand of up to 84.9m³/min (3000cfm). It was also important that the two linked compressed air systems could provide redundancy, and it was essential that the new system ensured that the painting process could always operate uninterrupted. Complementary After carefully considering the options and proposals from several experienced compressed air specialists, Mabey Bridge invested in the knowhow of Compressor Systems (Wales) and HPC Compressed Air Systems. Having worked hard to establish

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