March 31 - Modulift has upgraded its compression test rig (known as CTR1), adding 50 percent additional capacity to the now 1,650-tonne capacity machine.

This is the second time Modulift has upgraded the rig it originally manufactured in 2003 for testing 600-tonne capacity spreader beams to a proof load of 660 tonnes. In 2012 it upgraded CTR1 so that 1,000-tonne beams could be tested to 1,100 tonnes, while 1,500-tonne beams can now be tested to the new capacity following the latest three-month retrofit.

Sue Spencer, technical director, said: "We have been outspoken of late about industry driving demand for larger capacity beams so it made sense to invest in the upgrade of our flagship test rig, which has been at the heart of the company for 14 years."

Every Modulift modular spreader beam consists of a pair of end units and a pair of drop links with interchangeable struts that can be bolted into the assembly between the end units to either lengthen or shorten the beam. Spencer explained that the design means they are essentially "pin-ended struts" and the entire load is transferred through the spreader beam as a pure axial compression load. The main rails of the rig are therefore in tension when the spreader beam is under test.

Spencer added: "We have squeezed as much capacity out of the main rails of the rig as possible without having to replace the whole machine. We have increased the width and height of the rig so larger diameter spreaders can be tested. If there is demand in future to go even bigger we will consider it, but that would certainly mean replacing the rails."