Jet engines lifted and rotated by hoist

4 October 2019


Pennsylvania-based Acco Material Handling Solutions has collaborated with J&B Equipment to install a range of systems, including a circular crane, to lift jet engines for testing at an aerospace company.

The scope of the work covered design and installation of a system for moving jet engines to and from test cells, with the principle challenge being that the engines needed to be moved quickly, slowly, and with great precision at different stages of the testing process, while keeping safety a primary concern throughout the operations.

The solution chosen was a Louden monorail, a circular crane, and other cranes, a customised carrier, and work-rated hoists. Variable speed control was provided for the crane and carrier travel, while two-speed controls for the hoists enabled lifting and lowering operations. Safety was enhanced by Weston-style mechanical load brakes and multiple carrier travel limit switches.

The circular crane is used to rotate the engines into position, before it interlocks with the monorail system to transport the engine to other areas of the facility, said John Jones, district sales manager at Acco. The equipment had to be suitable to withstand cold conditions in the facility, as well as extreme levels of thrust generated by the engines during testing.

Jones said: “This type of innovation is possible only because we partnered with J&B and collaborated our ideas with theirs. Our distributors are not just people we take orders from; they are our partners. J&B received an enquiry from the end user and brought the challenge to us. We then combined with them to make a system that would meet the customer’s stringent requirements—safely and efficiently. There is always a lot of back and forth at this stage to innovate and create new solutions for special applications.

“All of our products are manufactured to specific project requirements but many components are standard design, emphasising the important role the dealer plays in tailoring a solution for the end user. J&B, for example, takes those products and, as we like to call it, provides the ‘magic’, like the special carrier device for the jet engine.”