Bespoke Rotation Rig & Air Skate

Innovative manufacturing processes require brand new handling systems. And very often, those systems need to be built from scratch, bespoke, and tailored to the precise requirements of the client's new process.

SCX Special Projects blends mechanical handling, electrical engineering, safety, power and control to deliver fit-for-purpose handling solutions. 

The Challenge

Our client was exploring a new process to manufacture the engine cowl moulds of its executive jets. The process involved a clamping tool, designed to compress the cowls before they are set in the oven, and which needed to be manoeuvred safely around the facility.

The operators required a method of securely rotating the top section of the clamping tool while returning the fully assembled cowl to the correct position and orientation for heating.

The Solution

SCX Special Projects created a bespoke rotation rig and integral air-skate trolley to satisfy both the handling and safety requirements of this new manufacturing process.

The air-skate trolley allows the upper tooling to be positioned easily and accurately into the rotation rig. The rig then inverts to receive the lower tooling and the resin-coated engine cowl. The rig inverts again, and the full cowl and tooling are taken to the oven on the air-skate trolley.

Pneumatic and electric

  • A pair of clamps secure the tooling, each being pneumatically driven, opening out to accept the tool and then closing with sufficient pressure to hold the tool in place for rotation
  • Horizontal pneumatic shot bolts lock the lower section of the clamp in place, whilst two static bolts at the top and one at the bottom position the tool
  • The clamps then raise the tool using electric screw jacks, providing the required ground clearance for rotation


Floating on air

  • The air-skate trolley operates on the same principle as a hovercraft, allowing a single operator to easily position the
    tool sections
  • A guide set into the floor, complete with failsafe limit switches, prevents the rig from operating until the tool is correctly positioned on the skate
  • A rope winch located to the rear of the rig provides additional assistance in the fine controlled removal and insertion of the air-skate


Power, safety and control

  • Electric motors rotate the rig from the centre, whilst encoder control ensures that the pair of clamps stay aligned at all times
  • Rotation is controlled from outside of the rig area to ensure operator safety, whilst the ground clearance screw jacks are pendant controlled to provide the an optimum view of movements
  • Safety light curtains shutdown the rotation rig if a person is detected in the area, with a controlled reset required to re-establish operation


Let's talk more about bespoke handling solutions

In manufacturing, to stand still is to move backwards. Our clients come to us to design and build systems that enable them to realise their ideas and innovations.

We have decades of experience in creating bespoke handling systems that deliver precisely what our clients need - 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, United Kingdom

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199