02 April 2008
It seems that the momentum behind the transport platform continues to grow. It has been a popular product in Europe for several years – particularly with scaffolders – but the news that Canada's Fraco Products is entering the transport platform sector with its own 8000 lb (3630 kg) capacity unit will give the product a considerable boost in North America.
Although similar in many respects to construction hoists, the big difference with a transport platform is a design that allows the unit to easily transport – with personnel – heavy duty building materials including plasterboard, glazing panels, pallets of materials, and scaffold poles.
They are built with wide opening gates, with ramps to each landing, and often without a roof (although the Fraco unit will feature overhead protection). They are also designed to travel at much lower speeds than conventional hoists: up to 39 ft/min (10.9 m/min) in the case of Fraco's ‘Transporter'. (In Europe, transport platforms are commonly designed with one speed for materials-only and another, lower speed for materials-plus-personnel.)
Fraco's interest in transport platforms was sparked when it entered into a sales agreement with Netherlands manufacturer De Jong to sell De Jong's construction hoists in North America, including the 1500 kg capacity MP 1500 transport platform. Jacques Laine, Fraco's marketing manager, tells Access International that selling the De Jong units opened its eyes to the potential for a much larger unit.
High carrying capacity
The result is the Transporter, a 8000 lb (3630 kg) capacity transport platform that uses the familiar Fraco ACT screw lifting mechanism and the same mast sections as used on the ACT-8 mast climber work platform. The platform is a mono-mast unit, but can be used with either one or two cabins.
The carrying capacity of a single cabin is 8000 lb and its loading volume is 455 ft2 (12.9 m2). The single cage dimensions are 13 ft 4 inches (L) by 5 ft (W) by 6 ft 10 inches (H) (4 m by 1.5 m by 2.1 m). Up to 20 persons can be carried by the platform at a time.
The unit pictured on this page – being used at the residential wing of St Anne Hospital in Montreal – is the final prototype, but will differ from the production version. The Montreal unit is actually a modified mast climbing work platform with a cage and openings on the front and the back. The final machine will have a purpose designed enclosure.
The platform will operate up to a maximum height of 550 ft (168 m) and the masts have to be anchored at 30 ft (10 m) intervals. The modest lifting speeds of the unit, as with all transport platforms, make higher installations less attractive to time-fixated contractors.
Mr Laine says Fraco has been testing prototypes over the past year with the first production machines available for delivery in May. One of the first production versions was shown at World of Concrete in January.