UK Nuclear Licensed Site – 125t Nuclear Product Facility Crane

SCX designed, engineered, manufactured, tested and installed this 125t nuclear product facility crane, complete with load arrest and recovery, and IEC 61508 safety circuits

The Challenge

Our client required an overhead travelling crane to perform a range of precise operations involving high-value nuclear equipment in its manufacturing facility. As a result, the crane would need to meet demanding nuclear safety functional requirements (SFRs), including seismic substantiation.

The crane was required to safely and reliably handle heavy loads for a service life of 40 years. And, given the nature of the facility, ‘clean manufacturing’ processes were strongly enforced.

The Solution

As part of a wider package of handling solutions for the client, SCX delivered this high-integrity, high-safety overhead travelling crane with a safe working load (SWL) of 125 tonnes. It is also fitted with the innovative MotoSuiveur load arrest device, plus a 10-tonne auxiliary hoist.

In addition to meeting the client’s SFRs, meticulous loose article control (LAC) is achieved through stainless steel walkways, handrails, and enclosures, full perimeter kickplates, void infills, and drip trays. Throughout the entire system, only prescribed construction and finishing materials are used.

Hoisting specification

  • A 125t main hoist gives 18.6 metres of true vertical lift via 2 ropes and 12 falls from a twin-scrolled drum, which can be Castell key-locked to a slow hoisting speed of 100mm/min
  • For the most delicate operations a SIL2-rated, key-locked slow speed of 0.025m/min applies to both long and cross travel, with a fast speed of up to 5m/min, via independent variable speed drives
  • A 10t auxiliary hoist is provided for lighter lifting and servicing tasks


Rigorous development

  • Given the crane’s large SWL, sensitive loads and strict nuclear safety requirements, SCX’s meticulous approach ensured a compliant, high safety, high integrity design
  • This process included BIM-compliant 3D modelling of the crane for clash detection studies and finite element analysis (FEA) validation
  • Substantiated EC&I systems were developed for safe, accurate and repeatable handling of nuclear material


Modular design meets bespoke engineering

  • The crane is of a modular design, using industry-proven components, ensuring reliability and performance with minimum maintenance
  • The 18-metre bridge span is reinforced to keep deflections within required tolerances, while material compatibility analysis ensures compliance with the client’s manufacturing environment
  • All crane motions have an M5 duty rating, ensuring high reliability throughout its 40-year working life
Seismic integrity



  • SCX undertook a comprehensive and independently-verified design assessment to ensure the system would not compromise the building’s integrity in a seismic event
  • Long-travel side guidance rollers combine with flanged and unflanged wheels to minimise skew, while also allowing a degree of safe lateral motion during seismic vibrations
  • Anti-uplift brackets are fitted on both long travel and cross travel, preventing the crane or crab from leaving their rails


Multi-layered safety


  • An on-crane HMI panel provides a means to configure safety modes, facilitates supervisor login, and displays
    all alarms and fault conditions
  • The design includes laser positioning, multi-layer over-raise protection, motion interlocks, mis-spooling  protection, limit switches and encoders
  • Machine safety layers ensure that all crane operations are safe and in complete control
MotoSuiveur load arrest

  • The innovative MotoSuiveur load arrest device is available exclusively through SCX Special Projects in the UK
  • The device provides a mechanically independent load arrest solution, bringing uncontrolled loads to a safe and damped stop within 30° rotation of the drum, or a load drop of <25mm
  • Arrested loads are recovered via the MotoSuiveur’s auxiliary drive – after activation and recovery, the system can be quickly reset and ready to continue operation


Clarity of control

  • Operation is remote via a substantiated and 24-bit encrypted Cattron radio control, while the PLC-controlled drives and hoist are programmed with lifting profiles to automate complex handling procedures
  • The hoist design accommodates load positioning and rotational tolerances, while eliminating potential issues of side-loading and mis-spooling
  • Dual load cells and X-Y-Z hook position sensors send operational data to a bright, crane-mounted LED display


Clean room compliance

  • Loose Article Control (LAC) compliance was assessed via a detailed 3D virtual reality inspection of SCX’s BIM-compliant model
  • The number of fixings is minimised, nuts and bolts are individually locked and labelled, and the crane is painted with a special clean room finish
  • Walkways, ladders and rails are made from stainless steel to minimise contamination, while openings on the structure are carefully planned and infilled to prevent dropped items


All under one roof



  • A blend of industry-proven COTS lifting equipment with expert mechanical, electrical, controls and safety engineering design
  • SCX took the project from initial concept designs, through engineering and calculations, to manufacturing and build, to installation and commissioning
  • Comprehensive factory acceptance testing was  undertaken at our Sheffield assembly facility, followed by site acceptance testing during final commissioning

Let's talk more about nuclear high-value nuclear equipment handling cranes

The nuclear sector demands levels of safety and integrity that is rarely (if ever) found in commercial-off-the-shelf lifting equipment. As safety cases become increasingly demanding, especially to keep humans away from harm, new and innovative handling solutions need to be developed and deployed.

We have decades of experience in engineering high-value nuclear equipment handling cranes - and importantly, they do it safely. Talk to us today.

Call us on +44 114 262 6199, email us at, or complete the contact form below and we'll be in touch.

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SCX Special Projects Ltd
Roman Ridge Road,
Sheffield, S9 1GA
Tel: +44 (0)114 262 6199