CERN to replace ageing strategic cranes

4 September 2010

European nuclear research organization CERN is planning to replace 50 obsolete bridge cranes in its Geneva-based laboratories over the next five years.

The international research body has already awarded a consolidation contract last month to Italian bridge crane manufacturer Bonfanti that will see the firm replace several smaller EOT cranes.

CERN’s complex houses a diverse array of cranes used for the assembly and installation of particle accelerators and detectors, and the EOTs with working loads up to 10t being replaced by Bonfanti are just the start.

Major refurbishments and replacements are needed at CERN for some of its larger cranes, which have lifting capacities of up to 170t to handle some of the heavier components.

Many of the cranes are over 30 years old and will not remain in compliance with newer European safety standards, soon to be introduced.

Roughly 11 of these will be refurbished where the existing girder structures are in satisfactory condition, with the remainder being replaced by the successful bidder

The cranes being provided by Bonfanti will have lift capacities ranging from 1t to 10t, and will need spans of between 5 and 25 metres to allow for a 5 to 15 metre lift range.

Some of the single and double girder cranes being commissioned will also need to be capable of traveling up to 100m along their axes.

For each crane, an infrared command remote control will be provided as standard, along with a pendant control for emergencies.

Remotes will also feature a variable speed controller for long and cross travel of each crane, with an electrical power feed supplied to specification by the contractor.

In addition to European crane safety standards, any new cranes supplied to the laboratories and workshops must meet CERN’s own list of specific safety requirements pertaining to electromagnetic compatibility, electrical insulation, radiation resistance and fire safety.

CERN’s tender is open to firms with at least 15 years of experience in the field of crane production, refurbishment and maintenance for models with lifting capacities between 40t and 170t.

The successful bidder will also have achieved ISO9001 certification for its crane design, manufacture and maintenance services.