A LEADING industrial manufacturer was given a huge lift during COVID-19 after securing a series of major energy projects and taking on new staff.
Anglesey-based Mona Lifting has completed a raft of complex jobs in the last 12 months, most recently the design, manufacture and installation of an 18-metre maintenance footbridge at Maentwrog hydro-electric power station in partnership with Magnox Ltd.
Since launching 16 years ago, the business has grown from directors Steve Jones, Robin Evans and Anita Davies to almost 40 staff.
“Despite the challenges of coronavirus, this has been one of the busiest periods we’ve ever had, and we’ve employed more people,” said Steve, the managing director.
“As the company has grown, we have expanded our services to become a multi-discipline operation, which means working in numerous sectors and allowing us to be selective and take on bigger, more intricate projects that demand our experience and expertise.
“The bridge at Maentwrog was an example of that; logistically it was a tough task, sited on a mountainside at the top of the plant, so we had to use a helicopter to put it in place.
“But these are the kind of challenges we relish, and to work closely with Magnox Ltd – with whom we have a long-standing relationship – is a privilege for us.
“We have other big projects lined up in the months ahead, including the design and manufacture of overhead travelling cranes and structures for the decommissioning of a heavy water reactor at Magnox Ltd’s Winfrith site in Dorset.
“We also have international clients and recently manufactured a 105-tonne safe-working load tool for lifting the small Atlas Wheel at the Hadron Collider in CERN, Geneva, which was brilliant to be a part of.
“Overall, like many, we have been in uncharted territory, but are pleased to have been able to continue working and are looking ahead to the future with confidence.”
Meanwhile, the implementation of the bridge at Maentwrog was lauded by Andy McAteer, who manages the plant.
“Weather conditions were near-perfect for the operation to proceed,” he said.
“It was mesmerising to watch the helicopter pilot skilfully guide his craft to lift the bridge beams up to site, orientate them to their correct plane and guide them into position within the 2.9 metre space between the pipelines.
“It is a great credit to supply chain partners Mona Lifting and Heli-Lift Services for their extensive preparatory planning to ensure the installation was successfully completed.”
The design and fabrication of the structure took place across a six-month period and included a mock-up and full trial assembly to ensure everything went perfectly on the day of installation.
Gethin Jones, Mona Group operations manager, said: “A team of 12, including two apprentices, worked on this unique project which began with a 3D dimensional scan of the site to ascertain the abutment points the new bridge would be attached to.
“We reformed one of the degraded abutments, erected scaffolding for site access and removed the former wooden structure.
“A traffic control team closed a section of highway so that the load could cross, and the bridge beam sections were flown about 700 metres to the site where a team of riggers and mechanical fitters carefully controlled the lowering of the bridge beams into place – it was some achievement.
“The Mona Group has worked with Magnox Ltd for 16 years manufacturing cranes, bespoke lifting devices, mechanical components and carrying out decommissioning work.
“The Maentwrog footbridge installation was a challenging and exhilarating experience for us and one that we were very proud to have been involved with.”