Control for maintenance

15 April 2008

Rising 171 m over Manchester city centre, the UK'sg, the Beetham Hilton Tower, needed a solution to tackle a very specific set of maintenance issues.

Enter Birmingham-based materials handling specialist Crane Care, which designed and fitted four bespoke radio control units on behalf of Apollo Cradles, to control four access cradles to allow maintenance operators to move freely and safely around the exterior of the 45 storey tower block.

“The extreme height of the tower meant that any facilities management team would not be able to move our cradles around the building using traditional running cables,”says Apollo project manager John Moorhouse. “With them being so long, the cumulative weight of any cradles would have been too much for the control panel on the top of the tower to withstand”.

The issue was not only height related. Situated in Deansgate in the heart of the city, the volume of spurious radio signals in the area could potentially cause major frequency problems.

“We modified five 716 Micron 5 systems to overcome this issue,”says Crane Care radio specialist Mark Hollyhead. “As a result, bespoke hand-held units are now housed in each of the cradles”.

The Crane Care solution complements a roof mounted winch system that features a back up winch to retrieve any operatives in the event of a breakdown. A glass-handling winch travels at the same speed as the cradles to afford a cleaner handling facility, while a lanyard fixed to wire ropes restricts cradle movement in windy weather. With radio control units wired into custom made control panels, which can be switched to manual if necessary, all the cradles are operated from a safe working level. The units are used daily to allow maintenance staff to move around the face of the tower and carry out essential work.

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