World’s largest crane starts work at Hinkley Point C

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World’s largest crane, Hinkley Point C,

The world’s largest crane, “Big Carl”, is set to start work at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station site

Able to stand up to 250m tall, the world’s largest crane can reach higher than the tallest tower at London’s Canary Wharf and can carry 5,000 tonnes in a single lift.

The new Sarens SGC-250 crane was shown off on-site at Hinkley Point C yesterday (13 September) where it will be used to lift large prefabricated sections of the power station into place. The crane was developed to support the growing trend towards modularisation in big construction – and its deployment allows Hinkley Point C to exploit this innovation on a large scale.

The crane’s huge size and capacity allows large components to be built in covered factory conditions on site, improving quality and saving time.

The world’s largest crane runs along 6 km of rail track and will lift 700 pieces, with a maximum weight of 1,600 tonnes. At 50 metres radius, the crane can lift the equivalent of 32 single-storey houses or 1,600 cars. It was brought to Hinkley Point C in 280 loads from its base in Antwerp via Bristol Port’s Avonmouth Docks.

Rob Jordan, Hinkley Point C construction director, said: “The crane is an impressive piece of kit and a world beater. It allows us to innovate in the way we build the power station, lifting complete pieces out of our factory bunkers and into place across the site.

Prefabrication helps us boost quality, gives better conditions for skilled workers and saves time – that’s good news for the project and an example of learning lessons from success at other projects.”

BYLOR – a joint venture between Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues TP will use the SGC-250 as they complete the main civil engineering works at Hinkley Point C.

Martin Westbury, BYLOR’s construction director, commented: “BYLOR are proud to bring the world’s largest land-based crane to the UK for the first time. We will use the SGC-250 crane to lift more than 700 prefabricated elements; including the five major sections of the steel containment liner and dome for each reactor building.”

The world’s largest crane is named after Sarens director of technical solutions, Carl Sarens who said: “The SGC-250 is a game changer. Sarens is proud to have conceived its design, designed it, and built it. We believe that this creation will serve Hinkley Point C and other sites around the world like no other crane can”.

Hinkley Point C’s low carbon electricity aims to play a vital role in helping the UK tackle the climate change crisis.

Innovations such as the increased use of prefabrication and the transfer of design, skills and experience from Hinkley Point C will provide a direct benefit to the proposed near-identical project at Sizewell C in Suffolk, making it cheaper to build and finance.

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