BAE Marine Systems - Nuclear Submarine Crane Refurbishment

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

The Challenge

Used for assembling reactors in Astute class nuclear submarines, this 18-year-old crane at BAE
Marine in Barrow-in-Furness required major mechanical and EC&I upgrades in order to keep pace
with nuclear safety standards.

Providing high integrity, high safety nuclear lifting duties over the submarine, the crane was located
in a clean room and comprised a 40-tonne main hoist, plus a 5-tonne auxiliary hoist.

The Solution

SCX Special Projects removed, stripped, cleaned, reinforced and reinstalled the entire crane, in
addition to fitting a number of new features to enhance safety and improve reliability.

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 from dropped loose articles.

Power and control
  • New motors and variable speed drives were installed on both 40-tonne main and 5-tonne auxiliary hoists
  • Overload, overspeed and anti-collision devices were added to protect against incorrect or accidental operations
  • The entire control system was replaced, including cabling, power supplies and braking upgrades


Installation and commissioning expertise

  • The entire crane was refurbished off-site to avoid contaminating the facility

  • Reinstallation was a challenge thanks to both limited headroom and access

  • Temporary brackets held the end carriages in position whilst the refurbished crane was constructed in situ, with the crab being raised by a hoist through a gap in the ceiling


Safety always first

  • Loose article control, to prevent contamination from dropped items or particles, included debris catchers below each hook and a new lighting scheme for visibility

  • 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


Let's talk more about upgrading safety-critical nuclear handling systems

SCX has provided high integrity, high safety lifting and handling solutions to the nuclear sector for decades. Our experience in upgrading and enhancing existing handling systems means that you can maximise your capital investment in existing lifting infrastructure. 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