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Faccin Group created a Wind Towers Division within the company. Why?
Eng. Andrea Comparin
Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement goals by 2050 will require a substantial acceleration across sectors and technologies, particularly in onshore and offshore Wind Power generation. This sector will play a significant role by becoming a prominent energy generation source achieving an estimated 33% of the total production.
This acceleration is only possible by increasing the wind capacity installation in the next 30 years, which means that the Wind Power industry will have to be prepared for such a significant growth. This rise of economies of scale will impact in the supply chains that will have to be more competitive and technologically advanced.
The production of wind towers does not escape this reality and should the towers continue being a tube made of several round cans of ever thicker steel plates the taller the towers are, then a fast and precise rolling of these cans is crucial for the wind towers manufacturers to stay competitive in the years to come.
Faccin Group’s Wind Towers Division has been created with the aim first, to deeply understand the challenges faced by the manufacturers of wind towers in this market environment, then to interface with the different areas of the group like research and development, product design and production in the creation of technologically advanced solutions to these challenges and finally to support the customers throughout the whole process of acquisition with just-on-time deliveries, operation coordination and on-going follow-up of the project, even after completion.
What can Faccin Group offer to the hyper competitive Wind Tower manufacturing market?
Eng. Diego Morbini
Faccin Group, with more than 30.000 units installed worldwide and 3 great brands Faccin, Boldrini and Roundo is a leader in the development and construction of innovative machinery for the rolling and bending of steel plates. This wealth of knowledge and experience fully supported by a worldwide network of very active distributors, two international branches, one in USA and one in Germany, and a division fully dedicated to the Wind Tower industry, allow Faccin Group to quickly identify the trends and needs of the industry – which are then applied to designs – and by leveraging its vertically integrated production and cross-sector projects, to supply high-quality, cost-effective products within a short lead-time to this competitive market. This industrial proactivity and capability have earned Faccin Group the trust of the biggest manufacturers of wind towers in the world.
Do wind towers manufacturers require tailored solutions or packaged-ready lines for their Wind tower manufacturing projects?
The short answer is both, and Faccin Group is prepared for it. The wind power generation market is changing rapidly towards larger turbines with manufacturers now offering up to 10MW and 12MW platforms. However, due to their overall taller and larger size, there are significant impacts to design, installation methods, and indeed the construction schedule and costs that need to be considered to determine widescale viability.
Faccin Group offers for instance, 4 rolls packaged-ready full-automation lines fully integrated with the latest technology available and a very short lead time for wind tower manufacturers that require a very proactive project definition, immediate delivery, zero-complications transport and installation and a readily-prepared standardized training program for their operators.
On the other hand, some projects may require a tailored solution, for instance in the case of offshore foundations and its extreme-thickness plate bending requirements and accessories. Faccin Group has supplied some of the biggest plate rolling machines to this market, not only 3rolls variable geometry machines, usually the solution for this type of project, but also specially designed 4rolls linear technology machines, a great achievement in design and construction.
Therefore, the answer is, no matter how challenging the project is, Faccin Group has the solution for it.
What part of a Wind Tower manufacturing line will see the most technical advances in the future?
Eng. Andrea Comparin
In order to comply with the increase in the demand of wind towers but with the pressure of decreasing costs required by Wind Power energy suppliers, manufacturers will look for machinery that will provide increased productivity through a mix of enhanced rolling speed and precision – re-rolling the cans will no longer be acceptable as part of the process – and fully automated systems, easy to use, no matter where the project takes place. Cloud-based Remote Service Management of the complete system, for quick assistance and problem solving, will be a must. Since the new wind power capacity installation is expected to be achieved within 30 years, manufacturers will look for machinery that can keep its frame rigidity – and therefore precision reliability – for these many years and the possibility to upgrade their equipment to the latest CNC technology for the highest return of investment.
There are so many solutions for the wind power generation. Onshore, Offshore, floating… Where do you see the market going and how can Faccin support the manufacturers?
Eng. Diego Morbini
Wind Energy has become the most common source of renewable energy because of production costs, environmental aspects and social philosophy.
To generate even more energy, the current tendency is to convert onshore wind farms into offshore wind farms. This is a very important point for all manufacturers of structural towers and steel fabricators because the market requires new products and new technologies. Towers specifications are also changing in terms of thickness, diameters, and length and the demand for producing foundations to install towers in the middle of the sea is constantly increasing. Foundation design differ depending on the applications and usually the choice of the structure depends on water depth and on the seabed type.
From the steel forming point of view and different from 10 years ago, the main target now, is not only to offer solutions capable of rolling tubular steel structures in a very short time with an easy and precise forming process, but above all, to provide turnkey solutions for production of XL offshore structures and platforms which is the foundation work for the achievement of wind power process. For this reason, FACCIN Group Wind Towers Division has developed complete packages dedicated to the production of large-scale jackets and piles, which satisfy the requirements of flexibility and high performance requested by a more advanced production cycle such as that of offshore foundations.
Spanish manufacturers are some of the biggest in the world. Is there a particular reason?
The easy answer would be, Spain is windy, very windy. But it also has a history behind, of more than 30 years, when in 1984 a Catalan company “Ecotecnia” produced the first wind turbine to be commercialized.
Many factors have put Spain on the right track to lead wind energy production; a correct regulatory framework, a firm business commitment and a global consensus to work on clean energy. Indeed, the high levels of wind in the country favoured a lower generation cost and a good integration in the electricity grid.
In 2004 the government started a program of incentives for the wind energy sector and this caused the entire industry, related to the production of equipment, to increase exponentially. Spain then not only produced but carried out all the activities and processes related to the sector, making Spain a world reference, and attracting new investors and technologies. A further increase in government investment in R&D also allowed Spain to spearhead technological innovation.
Due to all this, one of the processes in which Spain acquired the most relevance, motivated by its national demand and subsequent internationalization, was the production of metal towers.
The Spanish wind energy industry became a world reference, thanks to the enormous internationalization effort made by the companies in the sector, especially due to the growing and powerful interest of markets like CHINA, USA and INDIA in wind power development displacing the main European players. From 2009 on, due to new more restrictive regulations, almost 100% of the Spanish manufacturing was dedicated to foreign markets, making the “Made in Spain” more noticeable outside the borders.
As for Offshore wind towers, particularly since 2015, Spanish manufacturers have started to be more involved also in this flourishing sector, with great technological development and a huge market for implementation. Although the Spanish coasts are not ideal for the implementation of the current offshore wind industry, it is a growing trend and Spanish manufacturers have set their views in large international projects where their industrial and innovative presence is indisputable.
Concluding, what drove Spain to become a world power in this sector, in addition to all the above mentioned factors, has been good planning and coordination between the different actors, which allows Spain not only to maintain its current privileged position but to improve it in the near future.
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