Germany-headquartered Pfeifer, a specialist in cable structures, wire ropes, and connecting and lifting systems, partnered with a local engineering company in Linz, Austria, to suspend a two-tonne steel ship in the air using wire ropes for a cultural project in the city.

The ship measures is 21 metres long, 18 metres wide and is suspended at a height of 81 metres. As well as the wire rope, it is partly held in place by a wooden tower. It is part of the the Höhenrausch cultural project in the city.

The hull of the ship was lifted by mobile crane in one piece; the three masts were raised individually and then attached to the structure. Connection points on the ship form the main rigging areas.

In order to constantly monitor the loads on the wire ropes, Pfeifer is using six 12 tonne capacity and six 25 tonne capacity load shackles from UK-based load cell manufacturer Straightpoint. Pfeifer is also a distributor for Straightpoint products.

The load cells were rigged strategically to communicate data via Straightpoint’s Multiple Wireless Load Cell Controller (SW-MWLC) software package. This enables data to be read on a laptop at a central control station. David Mullard, business development manager at Straightpoint, said, “SW-MWLC software is used to monitor the load shackles for overloads in the rigging wires for safety reasons as visitors are able to walk directly underneath the flying boat. The load isn’t necessarily dynamic but with wind shear the loads would certainly change. Unlike many scenarios, here the load shackles are monitoring the in-situ rigging tensions during the exhibition rather than for the lifting operation itself.”

The ‘flying’ ship will be in situ until October.

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