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Guest Editorial

Harness the wind

By Alessandro Soffritti, president and CEO, Davi Inc.

Fabricating offshore foundations is a challenging and time-consuming rolling operation that requires the right skills and equipment

FFJ 0721 guest leadJuly 2021 - The offshore wind energy industry will be a “major contributor” to the post-COVID-19 economic recovery worldwide, according to the Global Wind Energy Council. Through 2030, the council forecasts that more than 205 gigawatts of new offshore wind capacity will be added globally—a 15-gigawatt increase from GWEC Market Intelligence’s pre-pandemic forecast.

However, the development of new technologies, manufacturing and construction procedures, and the increase in the size of wind farms and turbines, means new installations are being set up farther from the coastline. As a result, the design for the structures that support the turbines has evolved to become bigger, thicker, longer and heavier to accommodate these great ocean depths.

More than two decades ago, at the forefront of this trend, plate and angle roll manufacturer Davi Inc. began investing resources in technologies aimed at the energy transformation industries in order to meet customers’ needs and provide the most advanced manufacturing solutions on its equipment. Davi works with its in-house research and development team to continually improve the engineering and automation for future-generation machines and maintain the latest state-of-the-art CNC control systems. There are over 300 Davi Wind Energy Lines globally that are exclusively working in the wind energy sector.

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Large and in charge

The newest foundation and tower designs continue to increase in diameter, which creates a challenge for both the material handling and rolling process. When compared to onshore wind towers, the foundations and tower thicknesses necessary for the offshore towers are much larger. Foundations represent a major factor in any offshore wind farm and often account for a large portion of the total project cost. Therefore, selecting the right kind of rolling equipment is key to the economic viability of any project.

Davi works to anticipate manufacturers’ needs as they continually upgrade and modify their operations to succeed in this competitive and dynamic environment. Handling, rolling and welding are the main areas where North American manufacturers need to focus in order to increase their throughput and put themselves on the leading edge of wind energy manufacturing, especially considering many of their competitors are located overseas and have much lower overheads. Davi supports customers not only with technological solutions but also by helping to design internal layouts and production flow with a focus on productivity and safety.

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Staying ahead of change

Davi created its Wind Energy Division in 2007 and has invested in the development of heavy-duty feeding and handling equipment capable of moving larger, challenging workpieces. A few years ago, Davi developed an automatic cone feeding system that allows operators to safely roll conical sections in less than 10 minutes, reducing rolling time by 3 or 4 times, compared to older standards, and is currently partnering with other suppliers to integrate the entire manufacturing process upstream and downstream. This continued push forward in innovation offers the possibility to further speed up the manufacturing process and increase safety and reliability. FFJ

Alex Soffritti is president and CEO of Davi Inc. His goals are to be a mentor to employees, a continuous support for customers and a true partner to Davi’s dealers. His motto is to “turn my dreams into my vision and my vision into my reality.” Contact Alex at 815/980-1700 or asoffritti@davi.com.

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