The Portsmouth – UK based division of Airbus Defence and Space designs, builds and tests highly advanced payloads and scientific equipment for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation and scientific satellites. As part of its manufacturing programme for cutting-edge space-borne radars, LG Motion was recently commissioned to supply the company with a custom designed ‘Antenna Turnover Rig’ to provide mounting and free access for assembly and test of large antennae panel assemblies that measure approximately 3m x 1m x 0.2m with a mass of 115 kg.

The customer’s specification called for manual operation with built-in safety measures to firmly secure and position the large panels with complete 360 degree rotation and height adjustment. Furthermore the complete rig would allow mobilisation around the assembly area using heavy duty castors with brake fixings on the main frame assembly whilst the rotatable handling frame should be removable with provision for crane lifting.

Using its own in-house design and build service, LG Motion employed Profile System aluminium machine framing components and Linear System power transmission components – both from its close associate MiniTec UK. The assembly design and build was made easy with a combination of 45 x 90 and 45 x 45 mm sectional profiles and standard MiniTec components including the braked wheels, hand wheels, M12 eye-bolts and many interfacing brackets.

To facilitate the manual rotation of the handling frame, a third party 24:1 bevel reduction gearbox and a secondary transfer box were used in combination with pillow blocks and other MiniTec Linear System power transmission components. The design included a special detente pin safety mechanism to restrict the rotating frame from moving when in its fixed position.

The complete assembly was proof load tested and CE marked at Basingstoke then transferred and assembled on-site, and supplied with user instructions covering the safe operation and use of the Antenna Turnover Rig. LG Motion have supplied several manual and motion control automated support rigs to Airbus Defence and Space’s facility at Portsmouth (formerly known as Astrium).