Engineering Design Consultants

Sandsend Mule

Eadon Consulting were approached by Balfour Beatty in the autumn of 2014 to design a MULE which would be used to transport and lay units used as part of a coastal defence project in Sandsend, North Yorkshire.

The mobile unit lifting equipment vehicle will carry revetment units along a pre-built track at around 2km/h and then lay them into the correct position using the machines 3 adjustable legs to ensure accuracy. Each of the legs is able to vary its height and angle with the aid of hydraulic cylinders. The machine, which consists of a main frame on which the revetment is loaded, has a counterweight section at the back on which the hydraulic power pack/diesel generator can be loaded and it is moved by a separate unit attached to the frame via a specially designed coupling.  The drive unit uses two hydraulic motors to drive the drive wheels sitting in the same guide channels and also has additional ballast which is required to meet the units traction requirements.

Eadon, who were the mechanical and structural designers on the project, carried out all of the calculations and the development of the concept. The project also saw engineers continue through to the detailed design and 3D model and manufacturing drawings. The team found that the project presented several challenges during the process and were required to make significant changes to the mechanism and strengthening concepts to ensure the Mule functioned correctly. Environmental factors also had to be taken into account as the machine is required to work in a hostile, coastal environment. The design team also had to bear in mind that the client ultimately wanted a cost effective solution.

Work on the beach, which lies just north of Whitby, has recently been complete and all 360 revetments were successfully laid into place by the 5200kg mule. The new finalised project will protect the area from further erosion.

For more information regarding our bespoke machinery design services or to discuss your bespoke machinery requirements, please telephone 0114 399 0400 or email us.

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