Improving RNLI’s Workshop Cradle Design

RNLI outsourced the design of a transport/workshop cradle to MedTec. First, we modified the existing cradle – then designed a new handrail safety system.


Royal National Lifeboat Institution


2D Draughting, Engineering Design, Fabrication, Manufacturing Support


SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Vault, 3Ds Max

RNLI Workshop Cradle

The RNLI had a requirement to modify their E-Class (Thames Boat)
transport/workshop cradle. However, they had no internal engineering resources available in the timeframe, thus requiring MedTec’s services to update their existing design for both trolley and a working-at-height handrail.

The project had two parts: one of which was to modify the existing cradle, in which we had to fabricate removable packers to support the hull safely from the main trolley frame at the new working height with increased height rails in place. The other for an amended handrail safety system.

MedTec were required to make the existing support side rails removable which were currently welded to main trolley frame, whilst keeping the same configuration for transport/other available. The side rails were suitably designed to be bolted to the mainframe to allow easy removal.

We also had to fabricate additional support rails to increase height for work within the ILC workshop for hull repair and maintenance work.  Maximising height to allow the boat to pass through the workshop door without roll bar in place to maximise working heights within parameters of the existing trolley.

Make a new goalpost assembly to support a working-at-height handrail for both boat heights, adhering to the safety specs provided by the RNLI.

Fabricate removable packers to support hull safely from the main trolley frame at the new working height with increased height rails in place.


MedTec have successfully carried out design and modification work for lifeboat transport/workshop cradle, with associated design work on a working at height safety handrail for the RNLI Inshore lifeboat Centre. The work package included managing fabrication of modification and handrail component parts, all delivered within in a tight timescale, within budget and to RNLI requirements. This involved working closely locally with the RNLI Inshore Lifeboat Centre and engineering-based at the RNLI Poole Support Centre to deliver this solution for the RNLI’s Thames lifeboat refit project.

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