Aerospace industry crane experts, Street Crane Company celebrates 75 years of lifting. Aerospace Manufacturing reports.
A key supplier to the UK's aerospace industry, Street Crane Company, celebrate its 75th year of continual innovation in crane technology. The company’s association with the aerospace industry grew substantially in the 1960s and 70s supplying British Aircraft Corporation and Hawker Siddeley, the predecessors to British Aerospace. The relationship has continued throughout the various incarnations to BAE Systems.
Other large Street Crane users include Westland Helicopters - now AgustaWestland - and Short Brothers, as well as Bombardier - now Spirit AeroSystems. Street Crane’s ability to meet the specific technical and safety needs of the aerospace industry made it a natural choice for typical historic application sites at what is now the Airbus factory in Broughton, and the Rolls-Royce engines plant in Derby.
Key features that give aerospace industry users assurance in lifting include an additional hoist brake for increased safety during maintenance operations. Programmable speed control and load dependent speeds ensure precise movements for accurate and safe load positioning. Multi-span cranes with overall spans up to 120m fulfil the needs of wide-span production and maintenance facilities. Anti-sway systems perfectly protect high value loads from damage during travel. Recent installations include Rolls-Royce Derby, Bombardier Aerospace Belfast, MDS Aero, and Muscat Airport.
“"Due to Covid restrictions, it is unlikely that we will be able to mark our 75th year as we have done similar milestones in the past,” explains managing director, Gus Zona. “However, in what has been a difficult year for everyone, it is a note of positive news. Even more positive is that the spirit of our founder continues to drive us forward.”
A family-owned business, Street Crane is said to be the UK's largest producer of factory overhead, gantry and jib cranes and is a global supplier of advanced hoists and controls to a network of over 100 international independent crane makers.
It started with Peter Street, a World War II pilot flying Spitfires, Hurricanes and giant Horsa gliders. In 1946, with eighty-eight Pounds Sterling in his pocket given him by the Royal Air Force as ‘gratuity’ for his service to the country, he decided to start a crane company in Sheffield, England and to buy the first company vehicle – a motorbike and side car. He then set about repairing factory cranes in an industrial landscape decimated by war.
“Sadly, Peter is no longer with us, but his spirit lives on,” says Martin Street, Peter's son and current company chairman. “While Covid hasn't destroyed industrial infrastructure in the way bombs did all those years ago, he would see similarities in the need to invest, rebuild and innovate.”
Innovate and celebrate
Innovation was at the core of Street Crane’s success from the very beginning. In post war Britain there were material shortages and government controls allocating available materials by strategic priority. Wound rotor motors used at the time to give smooth acceleration on crane travel motions were very hard to find. Peter's solution was to employ fluid couplings and freely available four-pole motors which meant Street could offer equal or better acceleration at lower prices and shorter lead-times.
Moving forward to today, the current Street ZX hoist range is the sixth generation of hoisting equipment the company has designed and manufactured. In late 2020, Street launched Eazycrane, the online crane configuration software which puts 75 years of know-how and expertise at the fingertips of their distributors around the world. The result of a ten-year investment to automate crane design, drawing, component selection, quotations and order processing, Eazycrane enables Street and its distributors to work within a single system.
“Had Peter survived he would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year,” Street concludes. “Another good reason to remember our founder and the generations of colleagues who did the groundwork upon which we are building our future ability to meet the challenging and changing lifting needs of the aerospace industry.”