BAE Marine Systems - Nuclear Submarine Assembly Crane – Refurbishment

SCX Special Projects refurbished an 18-year-old crane at BAE Marine in Barrow-in-Furness to meet updated nuclear standards.

Used for assembling reactors in Astute class nuclear submarines, the crane is located in a clean room. This required appropriate measures to be taken during the refurbishment to respect the cleanliness and containment of the facility, as well as the need to install additional safety features onto the crane to prevent any contamination of the reactor from dropped loose articles.

SCX Special Projects removed, stripped, cleaned, reinforced and reinstalled the entire crane, and fitted a number of new safety features to ensure optimum safety and reliability of the crane.

Hoist of a clean room crane for nuclear submarine assembly

New drive motors on both the 40 tonne main hoist and 5 tonne auxiliary hoist enable the crane to cope with both high and low speed operations, and overload, overspeed and anti-collision devices protect the crane from incorrect usage.

Loose article control, to prevent reactor contamination from dropped items or particles, is achieved through debris catchers on each hook and lights to illuminate the area underneath the crane.

Clean room crane rope drum

Both hoists have emergency disk brakes mounted directly onto the rope drums to arrest the load in the event of power or mechanical failure. Anti-drop brackets beneath the drums provide failsafe protection against the unlikely event of drum detachment.

Temporary brackets allow a refurbished crane to be installed with limited headroom

Refurbished off-site to prevent contamination of the facility, the reinstallation of the crane was made more difficult by the limited headroom and access around the crane’s final location in the clean room. SCX Special Projects created a series of temporary brackets to hold the end carriages in position whilst the remainder of the crane was constructed in situ, the crab being raised into position by a pneumatic hoist lowering through a gap in the ceiling.

A refurbished crane being installed

The entire control system was replaced and upgraded to include variable speed drives to provide smoother operation, new compatible cabling, a new power supply for the brakes and braking resisters to absorb any excess energy produced.

A new control system for a clean room crane


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