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Costain and Thomson Engineering develop an innovative, controlled solution for landing steel structures


15 November 2019


Working collaboratively the solution delivers benefits for safety, efficiency and the environment.

The Stirling, Dunblane & Alloa (SDA) electrification project is a major extension to the wider Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme, electrifying the major commuter routes to the north. The programme has reduced journey times and increased capacity alongside the significant environmental benefits of switching to overhead line electrification (OLE).

A key challenge for the project was safely delivering 1800 steel structures and their associated supports. Working with Thomson Engineering, we helped develop the innovative “Steel Manipulator”. The manipulator installs the multiple pre-dressed, pieces of steel that make up the OLE efficiently and safely without the need for additional plant.

The innovation eliminates significant safety, health and environmental harm

  •  Off-site manufacture and a single piece of plant significantly reduces track time and
    o Exposure to risk from plant/pedestrian interface
    o Night working with associated fatigue/wellbeing issues
  • Simplifies lifting with greater control of the load
  • Significantly reduces working at height
  • Reduces carbon footprint as fewer machines are needed
  • Increases efficiency and productivity

The manipulator now provides a step change in eliminating harm for complex material handling issues across our business.