Giant US gantry crane gets $40 million overhaul

By Alex Dahm02 June 2008

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, in the US, is spending $40 million to overhaul a 900 tonne capacity gantry crane. The work will provide increased capacity needed for construction of the US Navy’s next generation of aircraft carrier.

The upgrade will enable the giant gantry to lift 1,050 tonnes, the equivalent of 2.6 Boeing 747 jumbo jet aircraft, making it the strongest in the Western Hemisphere, said the Virginia-based company.

“Strengthening the crane from 900 metric tonnes to 1,050 will allow workers to assemble larger pieces of the Gerald R Ford, the next aircraft carrier that will be built in the Newport News shipyard.”

Steel plate reinforcements are being added to bolster the gantry’s legs, and all moving parts are undergoing a mechanical overhaul. More than 5 acres of the crane’s surface will be covered with five coats of weather-resistant paint.

The wording “Northrop Grumman” will then be added to the overhead section of the 23 storey crane. The lettering will measure 360 feet (110 m) wide by 18 feet (5.5 m) tall. The project, which began July 2007, should be completed in the third quarter of this year. As many as 100 workers will be involved.

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