Meet China’s Bridge Building Robot

Train-like bridge girder erection machine goes beyond conventional crane technology.

Behold, the heavy industry SLJ900/32 mobile bridge erecting machine!

Weighing 580 tonnes, measuring 91.8 meters (301 ft.) long, 7.4 meters wide and nine meters high, this mean machine is building bridges in a way we’ve never seen before.

Viewers watching the video above can see that the SLJ900/32 operates without conventional crane technology. 

Instead, the machine travels to the edge of the bridge and reaches out to towers yet to be connected to the bridge with a temporary track. Once the track is stable, the machine pulls itself out with the new bridge segment in tow.

Once fully extended with the track and at this point reaching another bridge tower, the SLJ900/32 lowers the new bridge segment in place for the construction crew to begin their work. 

Once this new segment is secure, the process can be repeated.

For another demonstration of how the machine works, check out this other video.

The SLJ900/32 is of Chinese design by Beijing Wowjoint Machinery Co., a supplier of customized heavy duty lifting and carrying machinery.

From the distance in the second video, it is hard to tell what safety equipment was used by the Chinese workers. However, if something like the SLJ900/32 were to gain popularity in the US, you can bet harness and height training will need to be up to date for workers.

A study of the SLJ900/32 by the Shijiazhuang Tiedao University in Shijiazhuang, China was published in the Chinese Journal of Railway Engineering Society.