Torquer Ltd, an offshoot of AJC Research, are developing a family of innovative lifting devices known as the HALO (Hands-free Autonomous Load Orientation), aimed at the construction and offshore sectors.  These use the movement of water to orientate a crane load without the use of tag lines, improving safety for operators.

Torquer RC Model

4cE designed and produced a small working model of the Torquer HALO unit for use at conferences and trade shows.  Producing a working model at this size threw up almost as many engineering challenges as designing at full scale, particularly around component interfaces and sealing.  Our 3D printing expertise enabled us to produce the complex fluid channel geometry far more cost-effectively than traditional machining.  Using a remotely controlled model bow thruster for propulsion, the model worked beautifully to demonstrate the working principles of the device in a tangible manner – everyone who sees it immediately wants a turn!

Torquer HALO

The Business Need

Torquer Ltd had carried out proof-of-concept tests of the device (see videos at and were looking to develop the product for market.  There was therefore a need to understand the key drivers behind the performance of the device in order to reach an optimal configuration within the constraints of space, weight, interfaces with surrounding systems, and production methods.

The Project

4c Engineering have been involved at various points along the development of the device:

  • Following the proof of concept, 4cE carried out studies into the performance drivers of various configurations of the device, including fluid-only versions and another type involving a weighted carousel;
  • Later on, 4cE looked in more detail at layout and manufacturing options for the first version of the HALO product, aimed at the construction industry, and produced a small-scale working model of the device.

Our Activities and Deliverables

  • Numerical modelling of various configurations of the device, examining the effect of layout, channel size, fluid types, thruster power, etc, in order to determine optimum configurations;
  • Concept layout of systems, including fluid channels, thruster and battery packs, lifting and attachment points, etc;
  • Hosted round-table workshop on configuration and methods of manufacture of smaller 5T HALO unit for the construction industry, and carried out further optimization modelling for this configuration;
  • Designed and produced small working model of the device for demonstration purposes (see box).


4cE’s modelling work has helped narrow down the options from the proof of concept stage and home in on an optimised configuration.  The small demonstration unit provides a very tangible method of explaining the method of operation to investors or potential customers.

Torquer Ltd have continued with the development of the product, and we are looking forward to seeing the HALO unit being put into production in 2019 – see