Special Cranes – Clean Rooms & Loose Article Control

SCX has extensive experience in the design, manufacture, and commissioning of clean room cranes for a wide range of facilities.

Individual solutions may focus on particular attributes such as minimal finishing to avoid flaking, kickplates and infills to prevent dropped objects, or further emphasis on securing ancillary equipment. However, they all share the same fit-for-purpose engineering expected of a crane from SCX – one that delivers safe, reliable, and repeatable, motion for decades to come.

The Challenge

We are often asked to design lifting and handling solutions for facilities where debris needs to be controlled for quality or safety reasons. Clean rooms, nuclear decommissioning, defence facilities, and aerospace manufacturing plants all need to avoid the risk of contamination, while food manufacturers strive to minimise formation of microorganisms.

The primary objective of these designs is to control debris from overhead lifting and handling systems, or to mitigate the risk of falling objects during operation and maintenance.

The Solution

Our engineers carefully consider the equipment’s construction and usage to identify potential causes of debris and how to implement effective Loose Article Control features.

The full working life of the machinery is assessed, with thought given to its through life maintenance with specific reference to lubricants, fluid drips, and mitigation against dropped objects. Our innovative solutions eliminate common causes of debris, designing out long-term contaminators such as flaking paint, swarf and oxidisation.

Dirt, drips, and particles

  • The most direct and effective defence against loose articles, drips and other internal particulates is an  integrated drip tray
  • Custom-made for each crab, hoist, and hook, the trays help to minimise falling debris from the crane’s own machinery
  • This also protects from debris originating from the wider surroundings that can accumulate on the crane over time


All creatures great and small

  • Even large bespoke machines like this 125t crane incorporate many Loose Article Control features
  • Our standard approach to ensuring no paint or surface coatings flake off is to utilise plain stainless steel wherever possible, such as walkways and electrical enclosures
  • Full perimeter kickplates and smart placement of infill panels prevent larger items from accidental displacement


It doesn’t stop with the crane

  • Control of the crane plays an equally important part in clean room systems
  • Variable speed drives ensure that the bridge, crab and hoist accelerate and decelerate smoothly, minimising shock loads that could loosen debris
  • Slow-down and ultimate limit switches protect the crane from over-travelling and over-hoisting
Full system thinking

  • Demands of the clean room necessitate subjecting the bridge, gantry rails, wiring, and all electrical connections to the same loose article analysis
  • Reducing the total number of objects on the crane is key, and ancillary items that cannot be permanently affixed are carefully planned, positioned, and held securely in place
  • This all assists in reducing surfaces and openings in equipment that can produce and harbour contaminants


COTS solutions

  • For less demanding Loose Article Control, commercial-off-the-shelf hoists can be modified with debris shielding
  • This particular hoist also has a MotoSuiveur load arrest device, preventing dropped loads in the event of a hoist brake or gearbox failure
  • Radio pendants allow operators to control the cranes while situated outside of clean zones


Not just for new cranes

  • SCX can also upgrade existing lifting equipment with Loose Article Control
  • This crane, used to build Astute-class submarines, was given a full EC&I upgrade, in addition to a range of loose article control features
  • Overall safety is improved too, following a detailed review of the lifting system and implementation of physical debris control barriers

Let's talk more about clean room cranes

Minimising contamination is paramount for clean room facilities. We can work with you to identify potential causes of debris, and assist in the implementation of effective Loose Article Control for lifting solutions.

We have extensive experience in engineering clean room cranes. Talk to us today to find out more.

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, United Kingdom

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199