Industrial rope access technician
Offshore and Onshore Operations
Working at great heights and in hard-to-reach areas is everyday bread and butter for industrial rope access technicians. You are deployed wherever cranes or scaffolding cannot be used. Overall, the field of work is versatile: cleaning, assembly, repairs, and inspections are typical tasks for industrial rope access technicians.
The offshore wind energy sector poses special demands on you. In this role, you pursue a future-oriented job where you can truly achieve and make a difference. Even the journey to the workplace is an experience when you fly in by helicopter. With our high-quality and constantly monitored safety equipment, you will be well-prepared.
Tasks in different areas of offshore and onshore industrial climbing
Industrial rope access technicians are deployed offshore and onshore where machines cannot be used. When scaffolding cannot be erected and cranes cannot reach, humans step in. This applies to the entire spectrum of work on the facilities: from cleaning and maintenance to assembly, repairs, and refurbishment. The tasks can be divided into those required for the rotor blades and those for the entire installation. In this profession, workers are often referred to as service technicians or rotor blade technicians.
Industrial climbers – offshore and onshore on the rotor blades
The rotor is the heart of the entire wind energy system. It usually consists of three rotor blades, each made of fibre-reinforced plastic. They are exposed to harsh conditions and are heavily stressed by environmental influences during daily operation. To ensure they function smoothly for a long time, regular inspection of their condition is necessary. This helps detect and repair damages early on to avoid high costs or failures.
Various tasks fall within the scope of work for offshore and onshore industrial rope access technicians to ensure this control. The rotor blades, including auxiliary elements and optimisers, seals, protective systems, and drainage, are inspected at defined intervals and examined for damages. This applies to both the interior and exterior and is carried out as a non-invasive visual inspection. If problems are identified, repairs are carried out. Additionally, varnishes and signalling colours are renewed at regular intervals.
Industrial climbers – offshore and onshore
When looking at the entire installation beyond the rotor blades, the focus is on the tower and the mechanical powertrain. The powertrain consists of the hub, shaft, gearbox, brake, and generator. These parts are located in or on the nacelle.
The tower is complemented by various elements such as platforms, fall protection, or lift systems. Problems and malfunctions can also occur during the operating period. Furthermore, the external parts are exposed to weather conditions and their protection needs to be renewed from time to time. Frequently used attachments and additional parts are also subject to wear and tear.
During maintenance, offshore and onshore industrial rope access technicians inspect all relevant components inside and outside the installation. This includes evaluating the technical condition, necessary coatings, connections, and additional parts. Detected deficiencies are also repaired and resolved. Other activities may include cleaning the installation and installing various attachments.
Becoming an industrial rope access technician in wind park operations is a skilled trade or specialisation. It is based on technical training, often combined with experience and qualification according to FISAT or IRATA. Additional qualifications are required for offshore industrial climbing.
However, it means that anyone with a relevant background can enter the profession in principle. The only requirement is to have completed the necessary training at one of the two institutes. The associated certification is divided into three levels: Level 1 always requires a Level 3 colleague present, while Level 2 can work independently on ropes. This opens up various areas of the profession. However, it is not mandatory to have prior training. Career entry from unrelated professions is also possible through this further education.
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Requirements and Prerequisites
To be eligible as an offshore and onshore industrial rope access technician, you should meet certain requirements. For example, it is necessary to work independently and with initiative since questions cannot always be asked beforehand. You must possess a solid understanding of what you are doing, enabling you to quickly and reliably solve any problems that may arise. A certain level of technical knowledge or willingness to acquire it is therefore among the most important professional prerequisites.
In addition, basic requirements such as good teamwork and flexibility are essential. Work is generally carried out in teams of 2 to 3 people, and each day is different. Unforeseen conditions can also arise in the daily routine, such as adverse weather, uncontrollable delays, or similar issues. Being able to handle and adapt to such situations requires good management skills.
Furthermore, if you wish to work offshore, you should be suitable for working at sea. For example, you may need to obtain an Offshore Medical Certificate or GWO Offshore Basic Certificate. Since you will be working at high altitudes, you should also have the necessary height aptitude.
Lastly, it should be considered that you will often be on-site in “turns” of 14 days or longer. This means you will spend 2 weeks continuously on assembly at the wind parks and the following days at home. As a result, you may not always be able to meet your family and friends during your offshore industrial climbing assignments. You must be willing to stay in hotels or on ships for weeks at a time. Wind energy work often takes place throughout Europe.
Future Outlook for Industrial Climbers
The renewable energy sector is booming, and wind energy is its most important pillar. Whether the work is conducted onshore or offshore, industrial climbers have good prospects. Now is the best opportunity to enter the industry as it gains momentum. This means more job opportunities in a future-proof field, leading to secure employment. Those who meet the right qualifications can also advance in their careers and quickly move up the ladder.
Three qualities pave the way for success as an industrial climber in offshore and onshore wind energy: teamwork, adaptability, and initiative. The industry’s upswing also means that it is subject to rapid change. Those who cannot adapt will lose track and struggle to keep up. Furthermore, the demanding work is performed in teams where everyone must fully rely on each other. However, situations may arise where quick decision-making is required. Independent work to efficiently solve such problems is a key skill for advancing in the profession.
FAQs about Industrial Climbers
What is the salary for industrial climbers?
The salary for industrial climbers cannot be answered uniformly. It is influenced by various factors such as work experience, company size, and specific job requirements. If the work is carried out on assembly, various allowances are added.
Which training is suitable for becoming an industrial climber?
Becoming an industrial climber is a job-specific further education and not an apprenticeship. Technical training occupations such as plant mechanics, electronics technicians or mechanics can serve as a basis in the field of wind energy.