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DRB Secures Wind Farm Contract

Deeside mechanical engineering company, DRB Group has secured a major contract to supply Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm, being built by RWE npower renewables, off the North Wales coast.

The two year contract is for the manufacture of the main structural elements for Granada Material Handling's 'Python' crane units. The cranes will be fitted to each of the wind turbines with two fitted to both offshore substations at Gwynt y Môr.

The development consists of 160 turbines producing a total of 576 MW of energy from the wind, two offshore substations, a large new onshore substation and 11kms of underground cabling. It is a shared investment between partners RWE Innogy, Stadtwerke München GmbH and Siemens. Once fully operational, Gwynt y Môr is expected to produce energy equivalent to the average annual needs of around 400,000 homes.

With a total of 164 crane sets required over the next two years, DRB has invested in additional equipment and in its people to ensure it can cope with the additional demand.

DRB Managing Director Dave Bennett said: "As one of the largest mechanical engineering firms in North Wales, we are obviously delighted to have secured this contract and to be benefiting from the investment in Gwynt y Môr which is happening just off the North Wales coast. We currently have a team of five engineers working on the project, some of whom we've specifically recruited as a result of us securing this deal."

The news has been welcomed by Business Minister Edwina Hart who said a phenomenal amount of investment is planned to develop renewable energy in Wales, offering considerable potential opportunities for Welsh businesses. "The Welsh Government, in partnership with key companies like RWE npower renewables, has held a series of events to help Welsh businesses make the most of growing opportunities in the renewable energy supply chain. It is therefore great news to hear that DRB has won this contract and joins a number of other companies in Wales that are benefiting from the Gwynt y Môr investment."

DRB has been working on a number of projects with Granada Material Handling over the past 12 months. This contract was secured after a series of visits by Granada and their client RWE npower renewables to DRB's engineering facilities on Deeside.

RWE npower renewables' Gwynt y Môr Project Director, Toby Edmonds said: "I am delighted that our contractor, Granada Material Handling, has secured expertise and jobs in North Wales to manufacture elements of their 'Python' cranes. "Gwynt y Môr is a €2billion development project and it is important to us that North Wales firms benefit wherever possible from this investment."  Mark Sidwell , Granada's Director added "We are pleased to be working together with DRB on this prestigious project , past experience and DRB's commitment to quality and on time delivery will ensure successful completion of this aspect of the project".

The contract DRB has secured with Granada Material Handling is for the fabrication of the pillar, pivot and beam, which together comprise the main structural elements for the 'Python' cranes. Each of the sections is made from between 15 and 20 pre-cut elements which are welded together using a series of bespoke jigs and fixtures. The integrity of the welds is assessed using ultrasonic and magnetic particle inspection, and finally the hinged connectors and holes are machined to exacting tolerances. DRB is manufacturing the sets in lots of eight, with a window of two weeks from delivery of pre-cut elements to completion of the sub-assembly. The crane sections then leave DRB for galvanising, painting and assembly before being installed on the base of the wind turbines.

The 'Python' crane units have been specifically designed by Granada Material Handling for the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm. When assembled each unit measures approximately 4 meters in height, 3 meters in radius, and weighs 1000kgs.

Gwynt y Môr wind farm is being constructed 13 kilometres of the North Wales coast, in water depths of 12-28 metres, and was granted approval by DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) back in December 2008. The Offshore construction programme for Gwynt y Môr is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2011.  First generation is likely to happen during 2013 and it is anticipated that the wind farm will become fully operational towards the end of 2014.



Published 19/10/2011
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