Mortenson obtains patent for WindBuilder BOP design tool

Mortenson says the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued the company a patent covering its WindBuilder wind power construction technology – a generative design tool used to optimize plant balance design (BOP) for wind energy projects.

BOP designs include the road network to access the wind turbines and other power generating units, the crane path to move the crawler cranes from one wind turbine to another during the construction phase, and the collection system underground electricity that connects all wind turbines to a central substation, often over hundreds of hectares.

“This patent award is an important milestone for our company and the industry as a whole,” said Tim Maag, vice president and general manager of Mortenson’s wind energy team. “This unique build technology was developed with decades of experience and allows us to more quickly and accurately generate and communicate design iterations with our customers to minimize the time and cost associated with designing a wind project.”

The proprietary tool was programmed in-house by Mortenson team members. The company claims that WindBuilder is the only program of its kind that optimizes the complete design, including access roads, crane paths and electrical collection systems, all in one program through a computer-based approach.

“WindBuilder impacts the time and cost of designing a wind project, as well as the safety of team members,” says Ryan Griffin, senior lean innovation manager, who led the team that created the software tool. “Moving cranes during the construction of a wind project is a labor-intensive and high-risk activity. We can save the client time and money and increase the safety of our construction teams by optimizing the design of a wind project with this tool.

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