Research stations have been specifically located in the Antarctic, on a hazardous floating ice shelf, to gather important information such as weather and climate data. Research has taken place at this location for many years and played a critical role in the research that identified the ozone hole in 1985. Unfortunately, due to their static nature, Halley bases I to IV floated off into the Antarctic on a great iceberg and Halley V was decommissioned as a result of being located on the wrong side of a potential fault line. The challenge was to provide a safe home and working environment for the research team to allow the continuation of extensive scientific and environmental research. The new station would comprise of eight modules (each the size of a terrace house) weighing between 150 and 220 tonnes.
Build the first fully re-locatable research station ever built in the Polar Regions. Engineer the hydraulic system and legs, on which the modules are supported, to meet the specific requirements of load holding, low temperature and environmental concerns.
Halley VI is unique; the entire station is transportable and can be towed and relocated, and the modules can be raised as snow builds up beneath them. The modules are mounted on legs with built-in hydraulic cylinders that are used to raise and retract the legs, enabling a snow platform to be constructed beneath the ski foot on each leg. The legs are then synchronously extended to raise the module.
The entire base stands on a hydraulic leg-and-ski system that allows it to be raised above the annual snowfall, and periodically transported to another location. If these adjustments didn’t happen, the station would eventually be buried and carried to the ice edge where it would drop into the ocean. Halley VI’s researchers now have a state-of-the-art complex from which to carry out their vital work. We are proud to be associated with this project which puts the UK at the forefront of Antarctic research, allowing groundbreaking scientific and environmental developments.
Merchant Square is one of the most current and prestigious new-build complexes in London. It is made up of residential, commercial and retail properties built around the end of the Grand Union Canal. Our challenge was to design, manufacture and install the hydraulic systems whilst maintaining a truly unique yet functioning set of bridge designs.
To develop a solution to operate the fantastic showpiece bridge, designed to give the appearance of an open Japanese hand fan, and to fulfil the design of Thomas Heatherwick’s rolling bridge.
Fan Bridge: The bridge itself is built from five individual leaves which are each raised hydraulically at various speeds and to different heights to give the bridge its unique fan effect, each section ending its travel simultaneously with its adjacent leaf. The equipment we supplied includes five hydraulic cylinders, each capable of lifting in excess of 50 tonnes, and a twin-pump hydraulic power pack to raise all five bridge leaves simultaneously. The power pack is linked to each cylinder by our custom-built proportionally-controlled manifold system to give us the required variable speed for each leaf as it is raised and lowered.
Rolling Bridge: The second bridge, known as the hedgehog, combines hydraulic rams and electronic controls. The sculpture unfolds with unrivalled elegance.
The result is a pair of impressive bridges that is a centrepiece of Merchant Square and impresses local people as well as attracting tourists from around the world. People are truly mesmerised by their majestic splendour.
London Sewage Tunnels
The Lee Tunnels are London’s largest and deepest shafts; the project was to eliminate sewage discharges to the River Thames and the lower River Lee via an enormous tunnelling system. The tunnel is required to store 350,000m3 of stormwater and sewage, which is pumped out to Beckton STW following each tunnel’s filling event. As part of a major project to upgrade the London sewer system, the plan was to reduce 40% of the volume of sewage (39 million tonnes per year) flowing untreated into the Thames at Beckton, east of London. Our challenge was to provide the power and control of a system that would be used to open and close the tunnel gates, allowing easy flow over and control of 16m tonnes of wastewater annually.
Design and assemble a complete hydraulic system, capable of controlling the flow of 3 cubic metres of sewage per second throughout the Lee Tunnel System, with an advanced electronic control panel.
A power pack was designed to provide the strength to open and close the tunnel gates and allow the sewage to flow through the Lee Tunnels. As the project developed, it became apparent that additional engineering and components were required to fully control and power the Thames Valley Sewage Tunnels. As a result, we were asked to supply the cylinders used to power the gates, manifold blocks and over 1000 metres of piping to facilitate the completion of the hydraulic system.
The sophisticated requirements to electronically control the systems resulted in a number of changes to the electrical design. However, following a number of extended days and weekends, the customers’ requirements were met and this project was delivered on time and on budget. We were proud to provide cost-effective tailored solutions, delivered on time, which will generate significant environmental benefits and reduce sewage in the Thames (East London) by 40%.
Premium Technical Partnership
Our long-standing customer, Caley Ocean Systems, has designed and manufactured offshore handling systems for over 50 years. For many years we have manufactured power units to support their operations and have a strong partnership with them, providing full technical support on all hydraulics. One of the most recent projects required a hydraulic system to power an A-frame to launch and recover large submarines for rescue operations across the globe. Our challenge was to ensure that the unit could be globally transportable for MoD requirements and deployable within 24 hours, whilst ensuring the power generated by the system would be sufficient to perform the launch and recovery of large submarines.
Following our initial calculations, our engineers developed a conceptual power unit design that would fit within the confines of a 20-foot container and weigh below the specified limits for transportation. The concept would allow the unit to be easily placed into a container and shipped anywhere in the world and would be capable of generating extreme power with the ability to store up to 3,000 litres of oil.
Our design engineers set to work and produced a 3D model, allowing the technical team at Caley to check the product specifications complied with their design and sufficient power could be generated. Our experienced fabrications team built and assembled a robust structure within precise parameters, allowing sufficient space for the integration of hydraulic components and sophisticated electronic controls. As safety was paramount, the HPU was manufactured using premium components including Eaton valves, two 160kW IE3 electric motors, each driving a Hydrokraft 250cc pump with electronic flow and pressure control. The final design of the power unit was 5.9m x 2.3m x 2.3m, with the capability of generating 320kW power.
As a result of the technical support provided, and our ability to supply a complete tested hydraulic system, the customer has been able to significantly reduce labour costs. Value added through consultation and advice on hydraulic circuit design, saving costs and improving operating efficiencies. Caley Ocean Systems were able to focus on the design of their products with confidence that they have a supplier who will ensure the hydraulics work effectively. This solution has given Caley Ocean Systems the ability to power submersible lighting of weights up to 46,000kgs and depths over 800m, whilst being relocatable within 24 hours.