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Torquer Ltd have developed 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 personnel pulling on tag lines, improving safety for operators.

The Business Need

Torquer Ltd had carried out proof-of-concept tests of the device (see videos at torquer.com) 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 numerical modelling studies of various configurations of the device, examining the effect of layout, channel size, fluid types, thruster power, etc, in order to determine optimum configurations.
  • 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 series of small-scale working models of the device.
  • Torquer later introduced another variation of the device, where the Torquer functionality is integrated into a container lifting frame. The non-axisymmetric geometry of this version made it harder to characterize; 4cE produced a MATLAB model to calculate the expected performance.
  • 4cE designed and produced a further small-scale working model of the container lifting frame variant, providing an excellent hands-on demonstration of the operation of the device.

Outcomes

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 units provide a very tangible method of explaining the method of operation to investors or potential customers – everyone who sees it immediately wants a turn!

Torquer Ltd have continued with the development of the product, and commercially available Torquer HALO products are now ready for use in the construction and oil industries.