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Caldwell Delivers Lifter, Rotator for Giant Magellan Telescope

The Caldwell Group Inc. has delivered a custom system for rotating a track section during manufacture of the world’s most powerful telescope.

Caldwell is one of several Rockford, Illinois businesses, including milling specialist, Ingersoll Machine Tools Inc., that is delivering various scopes of work to The Giant Magellan Telescope, an international consortium of leading research institutions. The 30-meter-class telescope, which will offer 10 times the viewing power of the famous Hubble Space Telescope, is under construction at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the best locations on Earth to explore the heavens.

Initially, Caldwell has manufactured a lifter / rotator based on a 242,500-lbs. (110-tonne) capacity Dura-Mod Modular Spreader Beam and two 20-tonne capacity RUD ACP-Turnado swivel hoist rings. Below the beam, rotation and landing assemblies on each side of the load facilitate positioning and securement of Ingersoll’s track section. Two 85-ton capacity top shackles and two 55-ton capacity bottom shackles, also supplied by Caldwell, and lifting slings, are among other key components.

Two more Rockford businesses were also involved. Circle Boring & Machine Company was subcontracted for machining the swivel and landing assemblies after heavy structural welding at Caldwell. Powder coating was then provided by Safeway Products Inc. before final assembly with high torque specs on the hoist rings. Quality control inspections preceded packaging for shipping and loading onto an Ingersoll truck. Caldwell’s engineering team was also responsible for the product manual.

When complete in the early 2030s, The Giant Magellan Telescope will be the largest Gregorian optical-infrared telescope in history. It will use seven of the world’s largest mirrors to see farther into deep space than ever before. Its unique design will produce the highest possible resolution of the universe over the widest field of view. ​ It will also be the largest public-private funded science project in history.

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