ECS Engineering Services delivers 49 duct cradles for nuclear power station

ECS’ in-house fabrication department has recently completed the manufacture of 49 steel duct cradles destined for the main reactor building at a UK nuclear power plant. Each of the duct cradles required fabrication to the highest standards, with ECS engineers delivering all of the structures within six months.

Supplying steelwork to the nuclear sector is a demanding project for a fabricator. ECS is accredited to provide steelwork under BS EN 1090 for CE marking up to Execution Class 4 (EXC4). EXC4 is applicable only to facilities of the highest consequence class, such as nuclear power stations. This accreditation ensured ECS could offer the required quality of steel fabrication and welding procedures to carry out the project effectively.

The duct cradles ranged in size from 1800 mm to 1400 mm wide. A channel framed structure was mated with plate-work supports to increase strength. This ensured that the cradles could easily accommodate the sizable stainless-steel ducts which would be installed on top of them at the facility. Each cradle took an average of 80 hours to complete.

The size and quantity of the duct cradles would pose a challenge to a smaller fabricator, but ECS operates an in-house fabrications department containing expert engineers utilising state-of-the-art equipment. This inherent capacity ensured the large order could be met within the six month timeframe for the project. With the installation of ductwork at the site dependent on the completion of the cradles, it was imperative they were ready on time to keep work at the nuclear plant on schedule.

The integrated design office at ECS also ensured the specifications of the cradles could be finalised and passed onto the fabricators quickly. This easy transmission from design to build minimises the lead time, allowing a faster response to the demands of the order. Having both departments in close proximity also helped to expedite the paperwork.

Andrew Shedden, Business Development Manager at ECS Engineering Services, commented: “For the nuclear industry, very high levels of engineering is standard. Supplying fabrications to this sector is inherently demanding for all aspects of a business, so to be able to deliver this large order within the required timeframe shows that we can blend quality, expertise and responsiveness. This is all thanks to operating our design studios and fabrications centre in close proximity, in-house.”