The Bloodhound Project is an international education initiative focussed around a 1,000mph (1,609kmh) world land speed record attempt. The primary aim is to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers by showcasing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects in the most exciting way possible. It is newly-invigorated after receiving new ownership under of Ian Warhurst, CEO of Grafton LSR.
Bloodhound SSC is a combination of fast jet, F1 car, and spaceship. At full speed it will cover a mile (1.6km) in 3.6 seconds—that’s four-and-a-half football pitches lay end-to-end, per second, or 300m in the blink of an eye. The current record of 763mph (1,228kmh) is held by Thrust SSC, a UK team led by Bloodhound’s project director Richard Noble and driven by Andy Green.
The project acquired its first Reid unit, a 2,000kg Porta-Gantry with integrated 360 chain block and geared trolley, from a third party in 2014. It has a maximum height of 5,829mm and a 4,570mm-long beam. A year later, a second gantry was supplied, this time a custom 3,000kg capacity crane, offering 5,027mm of height and a 8,000mm-long beam (the beam has a deeper section to enable the rating over such a length). It was also fitted with a rope control system for movement of the trolley, wind-up jack legs for uneven ground, and load spreading for use when in the desert during testing.
The gantries have already been widely used at Bloodhound’s technical centre in Bristol, lifting the upper chassis and jet engine (weighing up to 1.5 tonnes) on and off the car during the key assembly phases of the build. When complete, Bloodhound SSC is 2m tall, 13.5m long, and weighs 7.5 tonnes.
Nick Battersby, Reid managing director, says: “It has been a great project to be associated with, as it is at the forefront of automotive and aerospace engineering. The project is very high-profile, and the Reid gantries are frequently in clear view on project media images, exposing us to a wide audience in the engineering world. We have also embraced the project’s ethos of inspiring the next generation of engineers and we have two young Reid engineers that present to local schools as STEM ambassadors for the Bloodhound SSC, which is a great way for us to engage with the community.”
Reid’s Tim Battersby, technical sales engineer, and Luke Rossiter, design engineer, taught the team how to use the gantry over a number of visits. In September 2016, for example, the pair trained engineers on the 3,000kg capacity crane with rope control system, then witnessed the lift of the SSC car and its movement on to the surface table using both gantries in tandem.