Middlesbrough's iconic Transporter Bridge has been given a new lease of life, following replacement of its original electric motor and drive system, which had given nearly 100-years of service, with WEG motors and inverter drives supplied and installed by WEG distributor, Deritend RMB. The replacement system will ensure that the renowned landmark is in tip-top condition for its centenary celebrations next year (2011).

“We are obviously delighted that WEG motors have been chosen for such a high profile project,” commented Marek Lukaszczyk, European Marketing Manager for WEG. “Our motors have a deserved reputation for quality and reliability, evidenced by their use in some of the most high profile applications worldwide, including the new 818 m (2,684 ft) high Burj Tower in Dubai – the tallest building in the world, and new road tunnels in Sydney, Madrid and Hong Kong.”

The transporter bridge was shut in May 2010 to allow for the replacement of the original electric motors and drive system. The work was undertaken to enhance the bridge's reliability and safety, while ensuring a reduction in the time it is closed for routine maintenance. As an added benefit, the new motor/drive system will enable the bridge to be operated safely in higher wind speeds than previously possible.

The motors supplied and installed by Deritend are 3- off 45 kW 4- pole machines (2 operational, 1 spare) from WEG’s W22 high efficiency range. They are equipped with 1024 PPR encoders and are controlled by two WEG CFW-11 inverters. Overall, this package provides fast, precise control with high levels of energy efficiency, helping to reduce the operating costs of the bridge.

"This project was perfectly suited to Deritend's multi faceted electro-mechanical approach, incorporating everything from design and commissioning to manufacture and site installation." said Deritend Operations Manager Mark Westwood.

"One of the main criteria within the tender document was for the original drive system to remain in place and recognise the heritage status of the site and treat it accordingly. We achieved this by designing a bespoke solution which is built around the existing equipment and the 'old to new' concept is clearly visible.”

The mechanical drive solution provided by Deritend has enabled the existing, listed drive to remain in its entirety with only the need to disconnect the coupling bolts on both motor couplings.

Commenting upon the successful completion of the project, Councillor Paul Thompson, Middlesbrough Council's Executive Member for Streetscene Services and Transport, said: "The Transporter is an iconic landmark that is recognised around the world, and of which we are truly proud. "It’s fantastic that, nearly 100- years after it first carried people across the river, it is in full working order and looks as good as the day it was opened. "That is in no small part due to the efforts of companies like Deritend whose expertise will ensure it's still up and running in another 100 years.

About the Transporter Bridge

The only working bridge of its kind in England, the Transporter connects Middlesbrough to Port Clarence on the bank of the Tees. It was originally built in 1910 by Sir William Arrol and Co of Glasgow to replace an earlier steam ferry. A Transporter bridge was chosen because the Parliament of the time ruled that the new method of crossing the river had to avoid affecting shipping on the waterway.

Source: DMA Europa