Below-The-Hook Handling & Manipulation Solutions

Standard commercial cranes are excellent tools for safely lifting and lowering heavy items. However, as soon as your processes demand more than that, commercial lifting equipment very often isn't up to the task.

The Challenge

Our customers require handling solutions that go beyond a simple hook for lifting and lowering. It’s why SCX Special Projects exists: when standard commercial lifting solutions fall short.

A fit-for-purpose handling system is more than just a crane, and for many applications a simple hook doesn’t make the grade. Clients come to us with very specific handling challenges, such as rotation, interlocking, positional accuracy, inventory tracking, environmental sensing and more.

The Solution

‘Below-the-hook’ is where SCX Special Projects can engineer mechanical handling solutions that deliver precisely the manipulation and control you need, with safety and reliability always in mind.

We have designed and built devices that include bespoke interfaces, rotating and latching grapples, robotics, hydraulics, pneumatics, turning rigs, CCTV and barcode readers. And for applications ranging from simple mechanical interlocks to fully automated handling systems.

Bombardier Aviation tail wing rotation rig

  • Carefully automated chain hoists provide controlled and accurate rotation of large, valuable tail wing assemblies
  • Control is via a remote pendant, allowing the operator to take a wider view of the wing manipulations
  • The entire system is weight-optimised and suspended from the existing overhead travelling crane, helping to maximise ROI of existing infrastructure



Advanced high integrity grapple for a UK nuclear licenced site

  • The motorised grapple interfaces securely with cylinders of radioactive low level waste (LLW) material
  • Numerous EC&I devices are equipped including CCTV cameras, a bar code reader, various field sensors, limit switches and enclosures
  • The large slewing ring and latching grab are all electrically powered to remove the risk of fluid spills



Rolls-Royce jet engine transporter system

  • Two bespoke frames were engineered to enhance existing lifting operations
  • Equipped with load cells, sensors and locks, the frames feed back information to the Rolls-Royce SCADA desk
  • The design is weight-optimised and symmetrical, reducing stress on the existing runway and allowing identical operation in both forward and reverse orientations



Production line pick-and-place grapples

  • Combining bespoke mechanical design with intelligent EC&I systems, the grapples maximise space with safe automated operation
  • Articulated hooks solve the problem of limited headroom, while latching mechanisms securely hold the 2.5-tonne paper rolls
  • An inventory mapping system knows which rolls to pick first, depending on the required paper specification


BAE Systems post-furnace wing handling system

  • Following a hot, blow-moulded process, delicate Eurofighter wings need to be extracted from the furnace
  • The system is designed to withstand temperatures of up to 1100°C, whilst gently manipulating the wings
  • The forklift-inspired design can not only raise and lower the wings, but slew around for additional handling versatility



ILW box and 500-litre drum handling grapples

  • Installed at a number of UK nuclear licensed sites, these bespoke grapples are designed to interface with various boxes and drums of intermediate level waste (ILW)
  • The grapples rotate into position to counter any positional errors as drums arrive from upstream processes
  • Twistlocks engage with the drum and ensure a solid mechanical interface before allowing any lifting operations


West Sussex MBT energy-from-waste grabs

  • Our client required a semi-automated crane solution to help them segregate waste more intelligently
  • Two cranes were equipped with large capacity ‘orange peel’ grabs capable of holding 10m3 of waste material
  • The grabs relay load data via load cells and are kept safe via anti-collision and anti-sway features



Sellafield integrated mast & crane waste retrieval rig

  • Sellafield’s waste pits contain both irradiated sludge and intermediate level waste (ILW) material
  • Access to the pits is extremely restrictive, the only entrance being a small hatch in the pit ceiling
  • The remote-controlled mast lowers the hydraulic manipulator arm through the hatch, where it extends to perform retrieval or size reduction tasks, before extracting the waste



Bespoke pintle and rotating hook

  • In order to achieve a solid yet easily detachable mechanical interface with the grapple, a bespoke pintle was designed to sit below a rotating hook
  • A CCTV camera feeds a live image of the pintle to the control desk, allowing for precise positioning
  • Cable reelers follow the rise and fall of the motorised rotating hook, carefully engineered to avoid obstructing any lifting motions


Let's talk more about bespoke handling & manipulation

If you need more than a crane with a hook, let's talk. We will explore your handling challenge with you and advise on the best way forwards. With safety, reliability and performance always in mind.

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