Rolls-Royce Aero Engine Transportation System

Rolls-Royce selected SCX Special Projects to design, manufacture and install a multi-unit mechanical handling solution to move aero engines around its asssembly facility.

Collectively called the Engine Transportation System, it comprises the Transporter Bridge with its turntable, the Blue Brick, and the Red Brick.

The challenge

As part of its aero engine testing and production process, Rolls-Royce needs to manoeuvre engine assemblies around multiple build stands, before transporting them between test beds and on to the engine test cell for final testing before release.

The process was hindered by a lack of engine orientation capability and lifting equipment that was confined to specific test beds. Rolls-Royce’s brief aimed to improve efficiency in all of these areas.

The solution

Image: Rolls-Royce Engine Transportation System - designed, engineered and installed by SCX Special Projects


SCX Special Projects was chosen to design, manufacture and install a multi-unit mechanical handling solution. Collectively called the Engine Transportation System, it comprises the Transporter Bridge and its turntable, the Blue Brick, and the Red Brick.

These devices are fitted with RFID tagging and, in conjunction with the facility’s existing equipment, all are integrated into Rolls-Royce’s SCADA system that monitors load positions and prevents overloading.

Transporter Bridge

Mechanical handling for speed and efficiency

  • The Transporter Bridge solves the main problem of rotating a suspended load – Rolls-Royce previously had to lower loads to the ground and rotate them manually on carts
  • A 60-tonne capacity slewing ring provides a ‘turntable’ to safely orient the Bricks while suspended
  • The Transporter Bridge solution was integrated seamlessly into the existing 15-metre high overhead runway


Innovative engineering for utility and safety

  • To facilitate the Brick’s transition from the Transporter Bridge to each build stand, the entire turntable translates horizontally across the Bridge
  • As the turntable meets the build stand’s runway, it latches on
    hydraulically, creating a smooth and stable path for the Brick to travel along
  • The latching system also eliminates cantilevered loads between the Bridge and the build stand during transfer


A focused and cost-effective solution

  • A fully bespoke mechanical handling solution, interfacing with existing electrical and mechanical systems
  • Design working life of 25 years, supported by calculations,
    documentation and comprehensive acceptance testing
  • Engineering, build, test and installation all by SCX Special Projects, reducing overall costs and speeding up delivery


The 'Blue Brick'

Engine Transportation Hoist (ETH)

  • An integrated lifting frame, hoist arrangement and ETH assembly complete with load measurement and data display features
  • An underslung travelling design, with a 42-tonne safe working load, de-rated from 46-tonne for additional safety
  • Four-point true vertical lift of 11 metres, with a hoist speed of 5.0/0.8 m/min and a long travel speed of 20.0/2.0 m/min


Control and safety by design

  • The ETH has powered, articulated trolleys to traverse the runway, with VSD controls for smooth acceleration and deceleration
  • A total of 32 low profile wheels, eight on each of the four trolleys, spreads the load evenly on the runway and allows the Blue Brick to access all test beds in the facility
  • Both hoists are protected from dropped loads by MotoSuiveur failsafe arrest systems, exclusive to SCX Special Projects in the UK


Attention to detail and fit-for-purpose

  • Integrated load cells detect and prevent hoist overload and display load information on LED screens to the operator
  • Radio controls ensure good visibility of the load and its surroundings
  • SCX Special Projects successfully met a key design objective to minimise the overall mass of the solution, avoiding extra stresses on the existing runway


The 'Red Brick'

Package Transportation Hoist (PTH)

  • Like the Blue Brick, the Red Brick is a mechanical handling solution comprising a lifting frame, hoist arrangement and X-frame grapple
  • The hoists are twin-barrel designs from Street Crane, with true four-point vertical lift and a SWL of 25 tonnes
  • The hoists were modified by SCX Special Projects to meet the requirements of the existing Rolls-Royce X-frame lifting grapple


Extensive EC&I integration

  • The Red Brick’s controls and sensors communicate constantly with Rolls-Royce’s Supervisory Control System (SCS)
  • Proximity switches ensure that the lifting frame is docked and locked correctly before allowing the Red Brick to move across the Transporter Bridge
  • An LED display mounted to the Red Brick conveys all load, operational and safety information to the operator



Automation and control

  • Measurements are taken via load cells and reported back to the SCS for quality control purposes
  • The pendant activates coupling mechanisms on each corner of the lifting frame, which in turn provide visual confirmation of its locking status
  • The Brick traverses the facility via the Transporter Bridge, which rotates the load and provides access to various testing bays


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Roman Ridge Road, Sheffield, S9 1GA, United Kingdom

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199