General: Rescue crane is big lift for company
Posted on 14.10.2006 - 09:15 EDT in GENERAL NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links
A crane specially designed to rescue trapped submariners is being officially launched this week after being approved by the Ministry of Defence. After years working on the Nato project, the Engineering Business from Riding Mill in Northumberland is ready to launch the Portable Launch and Recovery System (PLARS) tomorrow.
It has created a machine capable of lifting a 30-tonne rescue submarine which can be easily packed and carried on a Hercules plane and fitted to a variety of ships.
Managing director Tony Trapp said: "Our task was to provide a system for handling a 30-tonne vehicle, to be assembled within 18 hours - and all air transportable."
The Engineering Business now employs around 100 staff and is looking to grow further, having quadrupled in size in just two years. In August, its system for erecting giant offshore wind turbines received nationwide publicity when turbines were towed out to sea off Inverness.
For PLARS, the company provides the means for launching and lifting the rescue vehicle which is built 100 miles away in Kirkbymoorside, near York.
Dr Trapp said: "The system consists of a submersible vehicle, manufactured by Perry Slingsby Systems in North Yorkshire, which goes to the stricken submarine, latches on to it, and the submariners can escape into it. That vehicle then comes to the surface, and it can hold 18 people.
"It tends to be quite a tricky operation, when time is of the essence, and you don't know where an accident is going to happen in the world."
The Engineering Business, heading for turnover of £16m this year, has been trying to win the PLARS contract almost since the company came into existence 10 years ago. Dr Trapp said: "Our first approach was to one of the key MoD guys at an exhibition, and there have been many meetings in Bristol and in Brussels.
"It's worth a number of millions, and it's a complicated project, going a long time.
"But main contractor Rolls Royce, the MoD, and other Nato people have all said they are extremely impressed with what we've done. It's also given us a good lever into other parts of marine defence, when we are trying to expand that arm of the company."October 12, 2006