Nicolas produces self-propelled nacelle transporter with hybrid drive


The French special vehicle manufacturer Nicolas recently delivered two self-propelled MHD G2 transporters complete with hybrid drives to Alstom. They will be used in the company’s new ultra-modern plant which manufactures nacelles for the wind power industry.

The vehicles are driven by a hybrid system. Outdoors, a diesel engine provides the necessary energy while in enclosed areas the vehicle automatically switches to electric drive, thereby moving around emission-free and with extremely low noise levels.

The new Alstom manufacturing facility in St Nazaire has a total of 19,000m2 of production space and is able to produce up to one hundred wind turbines annually. In order to work efficiently and cost-effectively, Alstom is relying on the vehicles from Nicolas. These are equipped with an optical guidance system and move without a driver through the production area. Nacelles weighing several tonnes are transported in this way from one assembly station to the next. To ensure they stay on the right course, the vehicles read lines and codes which have been set into the floor. These lines and codes are automatically detected by means of a camera which is mounted under the vehicle. For it to work correctly, a monitoring system fitted with distance measurement sensors permanently regulates the height of the camera.

“With this vehicle, we have once again shown that we are pioneers in special vehicle construction. It combines a range of innovative detailed solutions and makes operations at Alstom not only more efficient but also a lot safer”, according to Sebastien Porteu, MD at Nicolas Industrie. “The firm integration of the vehicle into the production process provided Alstom with the possibility of getting the most out of the available production space during the design and set-up of the manufacturing processes. From the outset, we were available in an advisory capacity and have consequently developed the ideal transportation solution.”

Nicolas has been part of the TII Group for 20 years. TII is a world leader in the manufacture of heavy-duty vehicles equipped with hydraulically supported pendulum axles.

August 27, 2015

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Tom Stone is Editor of the iVT brand – which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and the Advanced Lift-truck supplement, as well as, which is updated daily. Tom has met and interviewed some of the world's leading industrial vehicle OEM presidents, CEOs and MDs, and takes great pride in cementing iVT's place as the leading forum for debate within the industry, a reputation that his been built up over the brand's 25-year history.

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