Morris Material Handling has recently completed delivery of a custom-built 400t/25t auxili- ary lift overhead travelling crane – the largest ever from its Loughborough, UK plant – in just 10 weeks from getting the order. The crane is part of a contract to supply fourteen cranes to a new factory in Leith, Scotland belonging to Vatech Peebles Transformers. The deal includes a 200t unit to work alongside the 400t crane and other units ranging from 5t to 40t.

Everything about the project is on a grand scale, in a vast building measuring 178m long, 78m wide and 28m high, large enough to take three soccer pitches with room to spare. Vatech manufactures some of the world’s largest power transformers, for use in power generation and transmission. And the first transformer to be produced in the new factory is believed to be among the world’s largest, producing 2,750MVA and weighing around 700t. The transformer will be manufactured in two sections which will be assembled on site.

Working in the main hall, the 400t crane spans 25m and has a lift height of 22m. Yet despite its size and capacity the structure occupies only 4.5m headroom, to make most effective use of space underneath the 28m high roof. A power rotating block and hook provides full 360° rotation and together with inverter control, even the largest load can be moved and positioned as required with pin-point accuracy.

David Budd of Morris commented: “Although we only had 10 weeks to complete the project, the task meant that the crane had to be designed from scratch. But this gave us the opportunity to make most effective use of the experience of our engineering team, through the speed of the latest CAD design technology. We were able to introduce a number of innovative features which helped to achieve the specification and speed the process.” The two large cranes operate from gantries high in the roof in the main bay, while a further four cranes – two 30t and two 5t models – operate directly beneath them at a lower level, to provide maximum flexibility. Other units will be installed in the winding shop, the fabrication bay and the core cutting area. Outside the building, Morris is installing a 30t goliath crane running some 200m, for loading and unloading road vehicles.

Vatech’s managing director, Ian Philp, explained the need for speed: “The previous building was destroyed by fire and we needed to be back in production as quickly as possible. The new project gave us the opportunity to put together a highly modern and productive plant – but we could not put our order book at risk with further delays. Fortunately Morris, as our chosen crane supplier, has supported us by delivering on time to a tight schedule, so we are confident that we can meet our delivery dates.” Design and build contractor Melville Dundas of Edinburgh worked closely with Morris to ensure that building works and project planning enabled the cranes to be delivered and installed on schedule.