Crane lifts crane: Big Carl bears the load

rotating yellow polar crane installed on its tracks in the top of the reactor building Sarens’ Big Carl places the polar crane which rotates inside the top of the reactor building. Photo: EDF Energy

Sarens’ 5,000 tonne capacity crane nicknamed Big Carl was used to install a polar crane weighing 750 tonnes at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station construction project in the UK.

On 5 December the super heavy lift ring crane lifted and placed the polar crane into the first reactor building at the giant site in Somerset, south west England. Big Carl also installed the crane’s test weight structure, weighing another 715 tonnes. With the crane installed it will mean the steel reactor dome roof is also a step closer to being lifted into place over the top.

A heavy load

yellow polar crane structure made by APCO Technologies in Switzerland The APCO Technologies polar crane was assembled over several months on site inside a temporary hall. Photo: EDF Energy

The polar crane with a rotating double girder bridge was made by APCO Technologies in Switzerland. It has hoists rated to lift 320, 35 and 5 tonnes. This crane was one of the heaviest lifts made on the project to date.

The polar crane can rotate full circle inside the dome, lifting into place the reactor and the steam generators while the power station is being built. When the plant is in operation the crane will be used for refuelling the reactor and for maintenance.

The polar crane was assembled over a period of several months inside a temporary building opposite the Simulator Building within reach of Big Carl. It has four wheeled bogies to run on the circular track around the top of the reactor building. The double bridge beams joined by cross members have the winch trolleys running on top.

Great progress has been made onsite at Hinkley Point C in recent months. See video.

yellow polar crane runs on a circular track inside the reactor dome Using Big Carl to install the polar crane brings roof installation one big step closer. Photo: EDF Energy


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