Sheffield Forgemasters Engineering was faced with a slight problem. It has three overhead cranes: one rated at 150t, one at 100t and one at 60t. However, it does not have a crane capable of lifting at 280t, and that was the weight of the massive castings that its was fabricating recently for an Italian client. How was it going to handle these two castings through its workshop? The solution was a triple centre articulated lifting beam, designed, manufactured and tested by Chain & Rope Services, based in nearby Barnsley. The beam linked three existing overhead cranes of 150t, 100t and 60t capacities. The lifting beam itself weighed more than 30t and was manufactured in two weeks.

Chain and Ropes Services’ technical director, Peter Mangham, said the company is often called upon to carry out tandem lifts, but requests to produce a triple centre lifting beam are much less common. “It was a bit different and more difficult as the three cranes can obviously go up and down and travel at different speeds.” The design had to ensure that each crane operated only within its permitted safe working load and was complicated by the very low headroom in the working shop.

“Production of the beam went very smoothly, thanks to painstaking planning and the execution of the order by our design engineers and workforce. It was a team effort,” says Mangham.

The castings, which each involved melting and pouring 450t of steel were a record weight for any casting made in the UK according the the company.

After completion they were shipped to Daniele in Italy, a rolling mill manufacturer. The journey of the huge castings from Sheffield to Goole required special transporters and took two days to complete. Once they were delivered to the Italian factory the castings were incorporated into a new generation of wide plate mills which were ultimately despatched to their final destination in the USA for steel maker Nucor.