Simulation helps to create highly engineered solutions


"Simulation software and 3D modelling is a modern alternative to a pencil and a logarithmic ruler. It allows us to check the correctness of the developed construction solutions and thus ensure the longest possible service life,” says Andris Bērziņš, Peikko’s Senior Manager of Wind Energy Programs. The company he represents provides turbine foundation solutions for the construction of wind parks – with the development of technology and the growth of turbines, the loads on foundations are increasing, therefore, advanced simulation solutions become required in order to ensure the success of projects.


Technologies in the wind energy sector are evolving very rapidly, with power plants becoming taller and more powerful. For example, the height of the world’s tallest and most powerful turbine shaft is 220 metres, and each of its blades is 107 metres long. Trends moving in this direction mean that the foundations of wind parks, as a construction product, face significant challenges. Loads on wind turbine foundations are increasing every year, and in the last eight years, they have doubled. Thus, manufacturers of foundations who want to keep competitive must look for new and modern solutions to meet the challenges.


“Over the last ten years, while working in the wind energy sector and specializing in the construction of wind power foundations, I have noticed that the speed of changes here is very high compared to the traditional construction industry. We have to constantly deepen our knowledge, keep up with the ongoing changes and even drive them, because only in this way can we create the greatest possible added value for our clients,” says Bērziņš.


As Bērziņš points out, although the wind turbine foundation looks like a simple structure, it is a highly engineered structure, and it is necessary in this area in order to achieve cost-effective and high-quality solutions.


Peikko Group has been successfully using Dassault Systems' Abaqus simulation software from RAND for some time. It is used to model rock anchors for wind turbine foundations. More than 600 of them were built in Norway, Finland and Sweden, and Abaqus provided design work that required extremely detailed calculations.


“The foundations of wind parks have to withstand heavy loads, so correctly and accurately performed modelling work is very important in order for them to last for twenty years and longer. We could not do that without simulation and 3D modelling – in my head, they are like a modern alternative to a pencil and logarithmic ruler. Software, for example, is used for automatic placement of reinforcement layout – it takes thousands of iterations for the best fit solution, while a person could do only a few of them at the same time,” says Bērziņš.