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Caldwell Frame Helps Handle and Ship Cryomodules


Jan. 12, 2022 - The Caldwell Group Inc., Rockford, Illinois, has customized a lifting frame that will be used during transatlantic transportation of cryomodules this summer.

The 35.76’-long, 7.2’-wide, 7.7’-high steel frame, provided by Caldwell’s Illinois distributor, John Sakash Company, weighs 12,787 lbs. unloaded and 40,345 lbs. loaded.

Cryomodules will sit on seven aluminum cradles, also manufactured by Caldwell, within the frame for road transportation and aboard a Boeing 747-400F cargo airplane.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory’s (Fermilab) Proton Improvement Plan II (PIP-II) Project plans the assembly of three high-beta 650MHz (HB650) cryomodules at STFC-UKRI in the UK.

The completed modules must be safely transported to FNAL in Illinois. To achieve this, a transport frame was designed to protect the cryomodules during transit. The entire project was a collaboration involving extensive meetings between Caldwell, John Sakash, and Fermilab.

A crane will lower a cryomodule through the top opening of the frame and onto supports. This will allow safe alignment and attachment of the cradles. The top guard is then lowered into position, and instrumentation can be mounted onto the central platforms.

The frame, originally designed by STFC-UKRI, a partner institution with Fermilab on PIP-II, meets requirements for shock, vibration, lifting, and transport loads in both the U.S. and Europe.

The frame features four lifting points to stabilize the load, connected to a top sling at an angle of 30° to meet headroom requirements; the sling spread will be 23.2’ by 7’.

Dan Mongan, senior sales engineer at Caldwell, explained that the selected RUD lifting eyes are high-capacity fittings selected to accommodate the low headroom, 30° sling angle.

Pete Sakash, of John Sakash Company, said: “This isn’t a level of engineering and manufacturing capability that is readily available in industry. The frame will likely be used on three occasions, but they must have complete trust in the whole system, given the value and importance of the load and the transatlantic journey it will take. Thusly, shock absorption was a major part of the design. The last thing that anyone wants is for the cryomodule to get shaken around during shipping. The type of shock absorbers that they’re using were specified by PIP-II engineers.”

Cream City Scale, also of Illinois, was contracted by Caldwell to complete a 200% load test, during which each cradle needed to be loaded. The job was approved on May 21, 2021, and shipped on Nov. 30, 2021.

Sakash added: “What stands out to me is just the whole collaborative aspect of it. So many people are involved in this—contractors, manufacturers, engineers, various countries, etc.—and it’s all just for research. They’re not building a bridge, or expanding a highway, or putting up a building, they’re doing experiments to try and find out more about our universe. It’s an honor to be a part of it.”

Sakash revealed that John Sakash Company and Caldwell are already collaborating on provision of a dummy load to fit inside the frame for a spring 2022 test run. Sensors will be used to record the movements and stresses put on the dummy load inside the transport frame.

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