Bridgend, Wales-based Rope and Sling Specialists (RSS) Ltd has completed load tests on a new 5t capacity overhead crane at a Lee Tunnel Thames Water site in Beckton, East London.

The crane installation, located at MVB Lee Tunnel Thames Water Site 4, was handled by Reel Crane Services UK, a division of Reel UK. This was positioned above the main tunnel shaft at the major infrastructure project and will utilise 80m height of lift and 37m travel to remove debris from beneath.

RSS, headquartered in South Wales, also has a number of facilities across the UK. Its London office managed a scope of work to complete dynamic and static load tests on the cab-operated crane.

It uses water bags to create 10% and 25% overload situations, filling the bags gradually to reach the desired weights. Graham Dawson, RSS depot manager at the London office, explains: "We had considered slab weights to complete the tests but access to the area was restricted by trenches that were being dug so they were ruled out as a viable solution.

"Additionally, the cost and environmental impact for transportation of the slab weights was far greater than the water bags, which fitted on one pallet." Two members of the RSS team, and seven from Reel in the UK, in addition to the French operation completed the twoday job, but Dawson said it wasn’t without challenges.

Dawson adds: "Due to new installation of the crane, on the first day there were electrical complications. These were rectified ahead of the second day of testing but further onsite adjustments were necessary.

"Reel’s French representatives required the static load to be held for an hour to test the crane brake, while its UK division also wanted us to carry out a deflection test." A calibrated 10t load cell, shackles and slings were employed from RSS stock, while the Water Weights bag was hired for the job. Following successful completion of the tests, the crane was then handed over to Thames Water. Manufacturer Reel will provide service and maintenance to the operation.

RSS, frequent visitors to the Beckton site, conduct Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER)-related proof load and pull out testing up to three times every week.

The site also has Modulift spreader beams on hire and other equipment from the below-the-hook specialist supplier. The MVB joint venture comprises three of the country’s leading civil engineering contractors — Morgan Sindall, VINCI Construction Grands Projects and Bachy Soletanche.

Together, they are constructing the fourmile Lee Tunnel that will help prevent 16 million tonnes of sewage entering the River Lee each year during heavy rainfall. Earlier this year, Rope and Sling Specialists took delivery of a new 1,000t Sahm Splice hydraulic press, an investment that will increase its machining capability. The move will also enable the business to manufacture 55t safe working load slings, with the oil, gas and crane rental markets in focus.

The press complements an older unit, manufacturer by Talurit, which is used to produce 35t safe working load slings. The new unit from Sahm Splice is one of the biggest in the UK lifting industry and puts on the shop-floor over 50 years of German engineering expertise. Sahm- Seilklemme, known only as Sahm Splice since earlier this year, has produced and distributed products complementing the mechanical splicing of wire ropes since 1961.

Managing director Steve Hutin explained: "The decision to order the new press in October was led by capacity on two levels.

"First, the existing press is in constant use and it made sense to have additional machining capability but, more importantly, the new press takes our status as a below-the-hook equipment provider to a new level.

"The rope we will use for 55t capacity slings will have a breaking strength of over 300t."

According to Hutin, the new press will be used every day with 10 qualified employees manufacturing bespoke slings to meet customer specifications.

The firm carries an inventory of slings, shackles and other rigging equipment for hire from a variety of manufacturers that are often specified by end users.

Its new 1,000t Sahm Splice hydraulic press enhances Rope and Sling’s ability to serve key markets such as oil, gas and the crane rental market, sectors integral to the company’s growth.

He added: "We probably have the capacity to hire out at least 100 spreader beams at any given time. We now have up to date systems in place, experienced staff and unrivalled service. Combined with equipment like the new Sahm Splice press, we are very excited about the short and long-term future."

In addition to its Welsh headquarters, Rope and Sling has additional facilities in Scotland and two in England.