How was Aertssen Kranen successful in 3,800 tonne substation move?

By Alex Dahm05 September 2022

Aertssen used 138 axle lines of SPMT to move a substation for a wind farm. Alex Dahm reports.

Having already started in the pioneering period of the offshore energy market, Belgian and Dutch companies have built up vast experience as providers of related services and equipment for the now fast-growing sector.

All laid out ready to move in and set down prior to load out for sea transport All laid out ready to move in and set down prior to load out for sea transport. (Photo: Aertssen Kranen)

Among those contractors are Smulders and Equans. Steel construction specialist Smulders builds structures for the offshore energy industry, including foundations and transition pieces. Equans builds offshore high voltage substations (OHVS) for the major offshore wind farms.

Hollandse Kust (Noord) offshore wind project

On this project they are working together in a joint-venture agreement to build an OHVS for the Hollandse Kust (Noord) offshore wind project off the Dutch coast.

Working for electricity transmission systems operator TenneT, heavy lift and transport service provider Aertssen Kranen moved the giant 3,800 tonne substation outside its construction hall at the end of April.

The structure is 54 x 32 x 25 metres (L x W x H), making it one of the largest modules assembled at the Equans Hoboken yard in Belgium. Just 200 mm of free space was available for manoeuvring, a company spokesperson explained.

Aertssen Kranen also used a 650 tonne capacity Superlift 3800 lattice boom crawler crane to assist with the assembly of the substation module. For the transport part of the project Aertssen used 138 axle lines of self propelled modular transporter (SPMT).

All lines had a payload capacity of at least 40 tonnes.

The Scheuerle Generation 4 SPMT comprised 138 axle lines arranged in four trains. Train 1 was 2 file, 32 axle lines with a power pack unit on a trailer to minimise the length of the train. Train 2 was as Train 1 but with 34 axle lines. Trains 3 and 4 were as above but 36 axle lines.

Offshore installation

Partial dismantling of the production hall at Hoboken was required to be able to get the giant load out of the building.

When the time comes it will be loaded out and installed offshore.

Hollandse Kust (Noord), due to begin operating in 2023 is 18.5 km off the north coast of the Netherlands and will consist of 69 turbines, each 11 MW, a total of 759 MW.

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Alex Dahm Editor, International Cranes and Specialized Transport Tel: +44(0) 1892 786 206 E-mail:
Mike Posener Sales Manager Tel: +353 860 431 219 E-mail: