Hydraulic Handling Solutions

“In a mechanical handling and lifting world dominated by electrical power, hydraulics can add something quite special to our solutions.”

– Danny Pickard, Projects Director, SCX Special Projects

The Challenge

Each handling challenge that our clients bring to us is assessed thoroughly by our mechanical and electrical design teams. For every required motion – whether lifting, rotating, tilting, opening – we explore the range of tools available to us to determine the most appropriate.

The majority of our solutions are driven by electrical motive systems. However, there are many applications for which electricity is not the right engineering choice.

The Solution

SCX Special Projects has engineered and built some of the world’s iconic kinetic architecture, alongside the most innovative handling solutions. We make things move – safely – by combining industry-proven components with decades of mechanical and electrical engineering expertise.

Hydraulics are a great example of such a tried and tested motive system. They have a significant power density advantage over electrical drives, whilst retaining fine control, installation flexibility and long-term reliability.

Speedy build and breakdown

  • A modular, portable system for building and dismantling stage sets, designed for use in challenging environments such as rain or windy conditions
  • Towers are raised or lowered hydraulically through 1.25 metres a time, section by section
  • The four corners are synchronised via a bespoke EC&I system, giving outstanding repeatability and ease of operator training


A moving stadium experience

  • SCX is famous for its 10,000 tonne retractable pitch at Tottenham Hotspur, however the pitch surround is an equally impressive feat of engineering
  • The entire pitch touchline raise and lowers hydraulically through 1.8 metres from Premier League to NFL mode
  • Hydraulic power packs open up the surround flaps, before powerful rams raise and lower the entire structure, all carefully synchronised via an SCXengineered EC&I system


Doors in the sky

  • The 44th floor of the One Blackfriars skyscraper in London conceals a BMU garage, hidden behind panels that perfectly match the building’s exterior
  • A hydraulic system first leans the panels back, then raises them up inside of the building, significantly reducing wind loading on the panels
  • The building maintenance unit is then deployed from the garage to maintain and repair the exterior of the building


A unique access solution

  • The uniquely shaped ‘Gherkin’ has no flat roof, so an equally unique access solution was required that would not compromise the appearance of the building
  • Bespoke hydraulic machines allow maintenance staff to access the full external facade of the 160m high building
  • SCX's solution calls on numerous advanced ‘kinetic architecture’ engineering disciplines


Precise positioning

  • Four hydraulic handling stations were designed and built for a UK nuclear licenced site to manipulate and wash large contaminated cylinders

  • Each station has three hydraulic rams for various lifting, lowering, positioning and locking tasks, all fed by a central power pack

  • All four wash stations are controlled centrally by a remote PLC system, keeping operators out of harm’s way


Stadia access solutions

  • The new Tottenham Hotspur stadium had a specific access challenge: How could HGVs get to the inner bowl for large concerts and exhibitions?
  • SCX Special Projects designed a simple, powerful hydraulic ram solution that pivots up a section of seating
  • The lift creates 1.7 metres of additional headroom, allowing HGVs to deliver to the inner bowl


Reaching into nuclear

  • The Sellafield nuclear power plant has a number of storage bays from which intermediate level waste (ILW) needs to be removed
  • Access to the bays is extremely restricted, the only entrance being a small hatch in the concrete ceiling
  • A hydraulically powered telescopic mast and hydraulic robotic manipulator reach down through the hatch to retrieve the waste


Creating concert capacity

  • At a famous UK football stadium, the seating behind the goal retracts, creating valuable additional space for a stage set
  • The seating pivots along a giant rear hinge, powered by 18 8-metre hydraulic rams
  • The stadium can accommodate 25,000 standing concert-goers when the seating is retracted


Size isn’t everything

  • Court 2 at Wimbledon has an entry tunnel along one side of the stadium
  • A small retractable terrace spanning the opening was conceived, for additional spectator capacity
  • SCX Special Projects was invited to assess the retractable terrace concept and subsequently provide the hydraulically pivoting solution


From concept to commissioning

  • SCX was approached to explore what configuration would best serve the access needs of the Scalpel skyscraper in London, while minimising both weight and the risk of damage from high winds

  • SCX subsequently engineered, built and installed the doors, each opening at precise angles to the building

  • All the doors are hydraulically powered, giving reliability, high strength, and fine control in operation


Perfect growing conditions


  • In addition to a retractable pitch and surround, SCX also engineered, built and installed the innovative growlight deployment system at Spurs
  • The six growlight trusses are deployed and stored hydraulically from a storage area beneath the North Stand
  • Once positioned, the trusses also raise hydraulically up to a height of 2.5 metres above the pitch, for perfect grow light coverage

Let's talk more about hydraulic handling solutions

SCX always explores the most practical, cost-effective and appropriate solutions for the task in hand.

In many applications – just like the examples that we've shown above – hydraulics have the strength and reliability that is unmatched by other sources of motive power.

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