IEA Constructors (IEA) deployed four Manitowoc crawler cranes to install 200 turbines at a wind farm in Sebastian, Texas, USA.


Two Manitowoc MLC650 crawler cranes teamed up with two Manitowoc MLC300 crawler cranes for project.

IEA configured the MLC650 cranes with 101 m-long main boom and 7.6 m of extended upper boom, plus 300 tonnes of counterweight. The cranes helped set upper mid tower sections, blades and Vestas V120 nacelles.  

“During this project, our Manitowoc crawlers walked for many miles and yet we saw very little wear,” said Jason Ruggles, director of crane operations at IEA.

To better track damage and minimise wear on the undercarriage, Manitowoc’s lift solutions engineers worked with Manitowoc dealer Walter Payton Power Equipment (WWPE) to create a monitoring system.   

The wear gauges developed were applied to all four cranes; small monitors provided a visual display and continuously reported data to the project teams. The gauges monitored wear through the entire course of the project, during which the crawler cranes traversed a combined 600 miles (965 km).

“We needed a way to continually monitor these wear components without physically measuring the movement between each shaft, pin and bushing,” Ruggles said. “Out in the field our emphasis is on production, so we needed gauges that could act as a ‘go/no-go’ indicator and quickly and accurately measure component wear, giving us a visual reference of the rate of wear.”

IEA said that the fact there was only minimal undercarriage wear meant that downtime to replace worn parts was avoided, reducing operating costs.