SCX Special Projects Gets Fit4Nuclear

4th December 2019

SCX Special Projects, the mechanical handling specialist which recently completed its most challenging crane projects yet for a high-profile nuclear decommissioning client, has been accredited Fit4Nuclear.

This article originally appeared on page 16 of Nuclear AMRC News No. 37, Q4 2019

Based in the engineering cluster of north-east Sheffield, a few miles from the Nuclear AMRC's home, SCX Special Projects specialises in bespoke lifting and handling systems for demanding and safety-critical applications. It forms part of the SCX group, along with crane servicing arm Street CraneXpress, and electrical component supplier Burnand XH. It also works closely with its sister company, Derbyshire-based lifting equipment manufacturer Street Crane.

Last year, SCX Special Projects commissioned what group marketing manager Darren Falkingham calls the most advanced nuclear cranes it has ever built – two 35-metre span Goliath bridge cranes running in parallel on two 350-metre long storage rafts to store and triple-stack large cylinders.


HEQ Manager Tony Nudd and Group Marketing Manager Darren Falkingham with F4N Certificate

Image: SHEQ Manager Tony Nudd and Group Marketing Manager Darren Falkingham with F4N Certificate

With a 25-tonne Safe Working Load, four-point, true vertical lift hoisting and a bespoke grapple to interface with the cylinders, the cranes include multi-layered, substantiated safety features including the MotoSuiveur failsafe load arresting system, for which SCX Special Projects holds the exclusive UK licence.

Designing the cranes also drew on the firm's expertise in safety rated electrical control and instrumentation systems – the system is semi-automated to reduce any possible radiation dose risks for the operators, and includes full asset tracking and data logging.

The SCX Special Projects 70-strong in-house team designed and manufactured the two Goliath cranes using all of the SCX group’s specialist resources. The cranes were assembled and tested at its Sheffield facilities, where rails were installed to accurately replicate the client’s site conditions.

Around a third of SCX Special Projects' current work comes from the nuclear sector. Most is in decommissioning – another recent project saw the firm design, test and install a semi-automated intermediate level waste drum store crane with bespoke grapple for Dounreay – but the firm also works with EDF Energy at its operating reactor sites. The company has also supplied bespoke lifting solutions to Berkeley, Sizewell, Hunterston, Hinkley, Winfrith and Sellafield.


Aerial view of two Goliath cranes manufactured by SCX Special Projects outside one of its premises in Sheffield

Image: Aerial view of two Goliath cranes manufactured by SCX Special Projects outside one of its premises in Sheffield

"If you're in nuclear and you need to move it, that's where our expertise lies," says Falkingham. "We cover the mechanical engineering side, the electrical side and, especially important in this sector, the controls and nuclear safety side as well."

SCX Special Projects was among the first companies to enter the Fit4Nuclear programme, and was originally awarded the F4N hallmark in 2012. With granting now limited to three years, and a tougher assessment to better match industry expectations, the firm has now successfully completed the regranting process.

Falkingham worked closely with F4N industrial advisor Nigel Goodrich on the latest assessment to ensure that SCX Special Projects met the latest standards. “Looking back at the action plan that we set ourselves in 2013, the focus was mainly on ensuring that our engineers were briefed thoroughly and regularly,” says Falkingham. “This time around, the review had a far wider reach, exploring aspects such as strategy, definition of roles, internal communications and procurement.”

The latest assessment identified a few areas to address, largely around the internal communication of safety, health, environmental and quality management (SHEQ), strategic initiatives, and key performance indicators. The company is now introducing a new intranet to share information and manage many of its business processes, with the launch coinciding with a SHEQ Week to highlight best practice. The firm also upgraded its procurement process, with a new scoring system for suppliers.


Aerial view of two Goliath cranes manufactured by SCX Special Projects outside one of its premises in Sheffield

Image: Aerial view of two Goliath cranes manufactured by SCX Special Projects outside one of its premises in Sheffield

Many of the changes are now being rolled out across the whole SCX group to improve performance, Falkingham notes. "The process was brilliant because it didn't just get us looking at SCX Special Projects in the context of nuclear," he says. "A lot of things that Nigel asked us to explore have been applied across the whole group, especially on the SHEQ side. The regranting process really was an eye-opener, and it's had long-lasting effects on the way we run our business."

SCX Special Projects now looks forward with confidence to continued success and business growth in the nuclear sector. In particular, the opportunities presented by new framework agreements and the expected rise in decommissioning work, as forecast by Nuclear AMRC’s own research, will fuel demand for its nuclear mechanical handling solutions.

To meet its ambitions, the company is investing in new engineers, working with the AMRC Training Centre to train mechanical and electrical engineering apprentices, and with Sheffield's universities to recruit talented graduates.

Some of the firm's high-profile non-nuclear projects should help attract the most ambitious engineers – SCX Special Projects has recently built the retractable concertina roofs over both Centre Court and No.1 Court at Wimbledon, and the world's first dividing retractable grass pitch for Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium.

"The nuclear and stadia sectors seem hugely different, however the way we deliver the engineering solution is pretty much identical," Falkingham notes. "The guys on the stadium side love the fact that we build things for aerospace, nuclear and defence because they know how high-integrity those things have to be.”

“The guys on the nuclear side love that we do the Spurs pitch and Wimbledon roofs because it shows we can apply technology from the traditional craning and lifting market, and reconfigure them in new and innovative ways – innovation is the key to our success."

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SCX Special Projects Ltd

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

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199