Logistical masterpiece: Millimeters count in the transport of slewing bearings

Transport of a packed slewing bearing with a truck

How is a slewing bearing transported? Is there anything that absolutely has to be taken into account?

First of all, depending on the destination country of the shipment, sophisticated packaging is used. This ranges from a pure foil wrapping, to the use of wooden pallets, to crate packaging, which is basically used for overseas transports and high-quality slewing bearings. Whenever it makes sense for ecological and economic reasons, we use reusable packaging. This is the case, for example, for all rotor bearing deliveries within Europe. These bearings are often transported by special trucks that transport them diagonally, minimizing the transport width.

However, multimodal transport – truck – barge – truck – is often required for domestic shipments as well. For overseas shipments, we are investigating various options such as the use of conventional cargo ships, container ships, car carriers, etc. There are also projects where the maximum feasible dimensions of charter aircraft, such as the Antonov, are exhausted to the last millimeter.

What expertise/specialists are needed when transporting slewing bearings? How is your team set up to accompany and carry out the transport from start to finish?

As far as training is concerned, we have different qualifications and characters in our team: employees who have completed or are still studying logistics or economics, employees with technical training, and shipping and industrial clerks. In principle, I have a very heterogeneous team, so we complement and help each other.

In 2009, due to the increasing dimensions and importance of the wind energy sector and in the course of the construction of a new logistics center, we rebuilt our teams. As a result, we have qualified a group that mainly deals with steadily growing wind energy products, respectively with slewing bearings that can no longer be transported by a standard truck or container. This team, which used to organize transports with average dimensions of three to four meters, has now become a team specialized and experienced in large-volume transports, organizing numerous transports of four to six meters, regularly up to eight meters, to many regions worldwide on a daily basis.

In parallel, we have further developed the team for smaller components up to just under two meters, which supplies many customers worldwide. The focus here is primarily on market and customs knowledge in order to implement the fast and smooth delivery of smaller bearings to the remotest corners of the world. In addition to the delivery of slewing bearings, this team is becoming increasingly important in the import processing of raw materials etc. due to global sourcing.

Some people put the slewing bearing on an airplane

Millimeter work: loading a slewing bearing into an Antonov cargo plane.

Four workers are packing a bearing into a dismountable reusable crate.

Packing a slewing bearing is teamwork. Here, an 8 m bearing is packed into a dismountable reusable crate.