Houlder Ltd, a UK-based specialist marine engineering consultancy that was formed in 2002, has delivered its third set of gantry cranes for the UK government’s Warship Support Agency, completing a £3m ($5m) design and supply contract.

The project started in 1999 with four cranes for HMS Ark Royal. Houlder, part of Houlder Offshore Engineering, supplies engineering services and handling equipment to the defence, marine and offshore industries.

Houlder has now designed and built nine 3t SWL cranes for use inside the hangars to maintain and service aircraft on HMS Ark Royal, HMS Invincible and HMS Illustrious warships.

The Lloyds Register-approved cranes were manufactured under subcontract. A design challenge, according to Houlder, was to achieve the desired hook height within the confined environment of an aircraft hangar. Houlder also supplied operations and maintenance manuals, as well as on-site training for operators and maintenance crews.

Other crane contracts carried out by Houlder include: the supply of a range of electro-hydraulic deck cranes to the UK Ministry of Defence to handle rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and ammunition, again built by subcontractors; and a deck crane for the battleship HMS Endurance. The battleship is an ice class patrol vessel that operates for six months of the year in Antarctic waters. This crane was built from high grade steel to perform in the extreme cold.