Daily Archives: July 22, 2013

£2m nuclear submarine crane nears completion at Kingswinford firm

A £2 million defence project to build a colossal crane for the decommissioning of nuclear submarines is nearing completion at a Black Country firm.

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Managing director Robert Holland, right, and sales manager Richard Holland with the colossal crane in Kingswinford

Around 50 workers at Kingswinford’s TM Engineers have been working to create the 40ft high and 60-tonne structure, for the past two years.

Bosses from the company, in Oak Lane, today said the finishing touches were now being added to the crane.

It will be used to remove rods from the nuclear reactors of Trafalgar-class submarines at the end of their service life.

Work is due to be completed on the project within the next few weeks.

It will then be broken down into five separate pieces and transported from the firm’s headquarters during the next month.

The crane will eventually form part of a larger structure installed at the Devonport Royal Dockyard – where the submarines will be stripped down.

It takes around two years to fully strip a submarine and the crane has been designed to withstand natural disasters such as tsunami, hurricanes and earthquakes.

The structure is designed to be in operation for 30 years with designers at the Black Country firm having to anticipate what will be required of it during that period.

Around 8,000 hours of welding has gone into creating the structure.

Sales manager at the company Richard Holland said all of the staff at the firm deserved credit for the successful project.

“You can design something but it is the workers here who have made it a reality. They have worked tremendously hard over the past two years,” he said. “It has been a very difficult project to work on as technology and the demands on the structure change so quickly.

“This has been a highly prestigious contract for us. It has involved all of our staff at various points during the project.”

It is not the first major project to have been completed by the firm. It won a prestigious £750,000 deal to build parts for the famous Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. The firm developed mechanised parts for the project which helped capture atoms as they are sent careering around the 16-mile underground structure.

The parts, called E-Cal End Plates, were 13ft wide, made from aluminium and sent in two sets to Geneva. They took six months to develop due to the complicated nature of the manufacturing process.

A carbon fibre ‘shroud’ and lead blocks were attached to holes on the plates to catch the atoms.

The firm which employs 55 staff was founded more than 60 years ago. It is one of only 10 firms worldwide to be awarded special gold plaques from Geneva for its work on the Hadron Collider. The firm became involved through Rutherford Appleton Laboratories in Oxfordshire.

Source – Express & Star

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UK – Work starts on sixth Astute submarine at Barrow

Agamemnon keel

The keel is the first part of a submarine to be built

A ceremony has been held at a Cumbrian shipyard to mark the start of work on the sixth of a fleet of seven new submarines for the Royal Navy.

The Astute-class vessel – a nuclear-powered attack submarine – is being built at BAE Systems in Barrow.

It has been officially named Agamemnon after the Greek mythological King, though it has not yet been constructed.

A keel laying ceremony took place at Devonshire Dock Hall.

Defence Equipment Minister Philip Dunne attended the ceremony and revealed the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had signed a new contract with BAE Systems.

The Barrow yard has been working on the Astute programme since 2001.

The other submarines are HMS Astute, Ambush, Artful, Audacious and Anson. The seventh will be named HMS Ajax.

Hard to detect

The keel for the first vessel – HMS Astute – was laid in January 2001 and the craft was launched in June 2007.

Mr Dunne said: “The keel-laying of Agamemnon and the handover of HMS Astute and HMS Ambush to the Royal Navy are huge milestones, reflecting significant progress in the programme.

“By ensuring the UK’s submarine programme remains affordable, this new contract will help deliver the Astute Class and secure around 5,000 jobs at BAE Systems and thousands more in over 400 suppliers across the UK submarine supply chain.”

The fleet of submarines will be based at Faslane in Scotland.

The Astute Class of vessels have greater firepower, state-of-the-art communications equipment and advanced stealth technology, making them quiet and harder to detect, according to the MoD.

Source – BBC News