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Case study: innovative crane customization provides TNO with an exclusive cleanroom

The Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research (TNO) carries out advanced scientific research. Some experiments take place in ISO 6 certified cleanrooms. TNO called in expertise Cleanroom Cranes, part of the Mennens group, for their latest project. Together, they found a compact solution. It turned out as a textbook example of TNO’s experimental nature.

 

In short

TNO was looking for two new cranes for its latest cleanroom. The cleanroom is unique in both function and design, and suitable for conducting ground-breaking research. Cleanroom Cranes by Mennens supplied the cranes. The team designed a tailor-made solution that fits the loading capacity and structure of the existing building, and is fully compliant with ISO 6 cleanroom classifications.

 

A solution to limited space

Teun Brussee, project employee Engineering at TNO, explains: “We were looking for a suitable lifting equipment that could lift a valuable testing object into a so-called vacuum vessel. Our preferred solution was a jib crane. We soon learned that this was not an option, due to lack of space.

 

Mennens had carried out maintenance on our hoists for years. It was therefore an obvious choice to invite Mennens in and join us in our thought process to finding a solution.”

 

 

Special look and purpose

The tailor-made lifting equipment became part of a special cleanroom. Teun: “There’s a stainless steel vessel in the middle of the cleanroom. Several nitrogen pipes run on either side of the vessel. By creating the lowest possible temperature and the highest possible vacuum within the vessel, we simulate the conditions in which the test object will eventually need to fulfil its function. These conditions are ideal for research in various high-tech sectors.”

 

The cleanroom has a functional matt black colour instead of the more usual white. “The vessel is placed in a cleanroom in which optical measurements are used as well,” Teun explains. “Lasers and mirrors are used to carry out scientific research. It is therefore very important that the cleanroom is completely light-tight. Also, no light colours or reflective materials can be used.”


Enquiring Mennens

Two cranes were needed to place the boiler into the cleanroom and lift the lid off the vessel to place the test object. TNO’s request to Mennens concerned:

  • One crane with a dual function, that can accommodate the installation of the vessel and the placement of test objects into the vessel.
  • One crane with a lifting beam that can lift the 1.700 kilograms vessel lid.

Challenges

The fact that the new cleanroom was built in a building that already existed presented quite a challenge. There was little room between the vessel and ceiling onto which the overhead crane needed to be mounted. As a result, the cranes had to be mounted within a mere 600 millimetres high space. Which is especially restrictive considering the 2 ton workload, 5 meter span, and 17 meters track length of the crane.

 

The confined space posed an additional challenge to the installation of the crane track construction that surrounded both cranes. After all, the floor load capacity was limited as well.

 

Patrick Brouwers, project manager Cleanroom Cranes: “With extensive technical knowledge and custom work, a solution is always within reach.”

 

 

The solution

A solution was quickly found. Patrick Brouwers, project manager at Cleanroom Cranes, explains: “We were able to build two solid cranes. The solution: a crane body made of hollow aluminium profiles, and a double girder bridge construction in between which we attached the hoist.

 

We fully exploited the lightweight and solid characteristics of aluminium to make this happen. Combining our material choice with thorough engineering resulted in good conceptual models.”

 

Teun Brussee, project employee Engineering at TNO: “Our demands and ideas continuously evolved over the course of this project. It was nevertheless very successful: we now have two tailor-made overhead cranes. Thanks to Mennens’ knowledge and experience.”

 

A good cooperation

A solution was found, the engineering process successfully completed, and the models further developed. TNO is currently finalizing the cleanroom. Patrick concludes: “It was a good and intense project. We are glad TNO gave us the opportunity to take on this challenge. We know that not one cleanroom is the same. Once again, customization turned out to be the key to success.”

 

Teun confirms: “This project has turned into a success thanks to Mennens’ extensive knowledge and experience. Despite changing demands and ideas, we now have two tailor-made overhead cranes. It took precise engineering to place and mount the cranes within the confined space available. Due to great craftsmanship and professionalism of the mechanics, everything went smoothly.”

 

 

About TNO

The Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research (TNO) connects people and knowledge. It aims to create innovations that boost the competitive strength of different industries and the well-being of society in a sustainable way. TNO focuses on transitions in nine social themes.

 

Interested?
Are you interested in a cleanroom crane as well? Our experts would be happy to get in touch and think along, preferably during the design phase of your cleanroom. To make sure that your hoisting and lifting equipment is delivered, installed, and used as efficiently as possible.