London’s supercrane begins work at Earl’s Court

The most powerful crane ever used on a London building site is ready to begin work at the redevelopment of the Earl’s Court exhibition centre.

The 120m-high AL.SK190 crane, which is made by Stafforshire-based engineer ALE Heavy Lift, will be used to lift 61 portal beams used to support the centre above the District Line. The beams weigh up to 1,500 tonnes, the equivalent of 119 double-decker buses.

According to ALE, the crane may cut as much as two years off the construction time.

Capital & Counties Properties (Capco) scheme will replace the old exhibition centre with a mixed-used development that will create 8,000 homes, a high street and a five-acre park.

The project has already been under way for two years. This is the time required by demolition contractor Keltbray to clear the former building of the former centre, one of the world’s best known venues, and the home of Cruft’s Dog Show, the Ideal Home Exhibition and the Earl’s Court Motor Show.

The art deco frontage of the former Former Earl’s Court exhibition centre

David Rowe, technical manager for Keltbray, said in a press statement: "By using this crane and lifting method, disruption is minimised and the crane’s high capacity and precision lifting technology will reduce the overall project timescale considerably."

Giovanni Alders, ALE’s sales manager, said: "Operationally, this crane can perform lifts previously unachievable and reinforces the innovation seen throughout the whole project. We are looking forward to progressing with the project and executing the first lift."

Work is expected to conclude by the end of 2017.

Top image: The AL.SK190 in action (ALE)

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