British manufacturer and supplier of commercially off the shelf and bespoke lifting and handling equipment, Hoist UK, has joined forces with aerospace and defence company Lockheed Martin to create a bespoke lifting and handling solution for processing within a Satellite Integration Laboratory (SIL) in Harwell, Oxfordshire for the UK’s vertical launch space programme.
This innovative collaboration has resulted in the lifting and manoeuvring of a small spacecraft in a final stage condition before heading to launch from UK soils.
But the project didn’t come without its challenges. Lockheed Martin Space UK needed a versatile and portable solution to lift spacecraft and supporting equipment through a unique concept of operations within the tight constraints of the facility.
Due to the limited height access routes into the cleanrooms and the need for operation in different cleanrooms of the SIL, it was a challenge for in-house design and engineering team. They had to devise a solution to move with the load and adjust the crane to different height constraints of the facility in a safe and efficient way.
The solution was a bespoke gantry structure featuring a purpose build control solution.
The modular and adjustable design approach used for the gantry structure allowed it to be moved through the facility passing through double doorways to be operated in different cleanroom environments within the facility.