As part of a contract that DCNS, Europe’s leading naval shipbuilder, had won in 2014, ACIMEX has designed and produced a specific adjustable vacuum lifter, delivered in two sections and assembled on-site.
This innovative suction pad vacuum lifter, designed for lifting 16 m x 16 m decking, could not be transported all in one piece. As such, two 8 m x 16 m vacuum lifters, each weighing 8 tonnes, were made and carried by abnormal road transport before being joined together on-site.
Once set up in the decking welding line, this iron and steel vacuum lifter is easy to operate. It is fitted with 100 suction pads each 450 mm in diameter, and these can be selected separately one from the other for even more modularity. Each length of decking is moved from one station to another using the vacuum lifter, over 500 metres all along the production line. If the decking is small enough, the two sections of the vacuum lifter can be separated to handle shorter lengths of decking using two cranes.
Each FREMM produced on the Lorient site takes 10 months to build, with 100 people involved each time. Over 2,500 tonnes of metal have been used to build each ship.