Pneumatic Manlift Aims to Improve Offshore Maintenance Operations
Offshore Magazine have published a short article on our LIFTMAN Fold - see the article here
The LIFTMAN Fold is designed and developed for the offshore and onshore segments for oil and gas – typical this would be offshore oil rigs, onshore oil and gas installations and various chemical plants. It has built-in safety features to ensure safe operations both onshore and offshore.
As offshore, onshore and chemical plants have ATEX-zones, they would require equipment which complies with norms and standards for operation in these environments, combined with compliance to safety regulations for work at height. The LIFTMAN Fold complies with operation in an ATEX environment combined with the laws and regulations for working at height. It is even certified for operations outdoors as well.
The LIFTMAN Fold has a foldable mast, which allows the lift to be transported through narrow passages and into elevators (for example) so that the unit can be moved to another level inside a building for maintenance work. The LIFTMAN Fold is moved manually. The up/down function is driven by compressed air. In cases where no outlet for compressed air is available, scuba diving tanks can be used. The LIFTMAN Fold can be used with the mast folded as well.
Preparation and Painting of Airbus Wings
The wing of an Airbus airliner is a very large piece of equipment and its paint finish is critical to its performance and life. Before painting the entire surface of the wing must be prepared and of course the paint must be applied correctly to provide the specified film thickness to all parts.
In a new preparation and paint facility for wings, constructed by Eisenmann UK for Airbus UK at Broughton, North Wales WALL-MAN® platforms were specified to ensure that the operators could get the necessary safe access to all areas of the wing. Five bays, one for preparation and four for painting, were each equipped with four WALL-MAN® platforms capable of carrying a man to a working height of over 6 metres and with the operator’s cage capable of moving forward by 1 metre to provide optimum access to all parts of the wing.
The platforms are entirely pneumatically driven and controlled so there is no risk of electrical sparks or oil leakage, and were fitted with three separate air supplies, one for the WALL-MAN®, one for the operators tools and one to supply the operator with clean breathing air. In addition, in the preparation booth a flexible vacuum extraction duct was led to each cage to remove the dust from the abrasive sanding preparation process. All these supplies were run through high level “Energy Chains” to ensure that the hoses were protected and managed to avoid jams or tangles.
The installation of the WALL-MAN® platforms had to be carefully coordinated with the installation of the booths and other equipment so that the overall programme could be met and the production of aircraft could progress according to schedule.
Airbus have previously installed WALL-MAN® platforms on other facilities at Broughton and are looking at possible future applications. Repeat business is always a sign of a good product and good service.
Access Platforms for a Powder Coating Line
The WALL-MAN® and LIFTMAN™ products were originally designed for applications in “wet” paint booths where an oil free environment is required and the eradication of ignition sources in what could be an explosive atmosphere is essential. These design requirements are met by the fundamental design of the product being the fact that it is powered entirely by oil-free compressed air - a medium readily available in any painting operation.
The majority of our installations of both WALL-MAN® and LIFTMAN™ are in this type of application where they are used for painting buses, trucks, trains, helicopters, aircraft wings and other large items of equipment.
However safe access and compliance with the Working at Height regulations is still a requirement in many other situations including, for example, powder coating lines where the objects to be coated are large enough for access from ground level to be inadequate.
JMF Fabrications in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland (now part of Terex Corporation) manufacture truck chassis and other large fabrications which are then powder coated on a large conveyorised coating line. Access to the products is required at several locations on the line, but because the products are moving on the conveyor it is not necessary for the access system to have any lateral (sideways) movement.
C & S Equipment Limited, working with our suppliers and colleagues in Norway, designed and supplied three different variations of WALL-MAN® pneumatic work platform to suit different locations on the line. The first allowed the operator to raise the cage to a height of 3.275 metres and to move it forward by 1 metre. This was largely a standard WALL-MAN® platform, but mounted on fixed steelwork rather than being hung on a rail. The second WALL-MAN® was similar but there was a requirement for it to be moved out of the way in order for access doors to be closed during colour changes. This was facilitated by mounting the whole assembly on pivots top and bottom so it could be simply swung to one side.
The third unit only required a safe working position 1.5 m above floor level with the facility to move forward to bring the operator within working range of the work-piece.
In order to minimise costs to the customer and also shipping costs, C & S Equipment Limited provided design details of the supporting steelwork for these platforms and JMF fabricated and installed it.
Marshall Special Purpose Vehicles use WALL-MAN®
Over 12 years ago, when Marshall of Cambridge set up a new paint-shop in their Special Purpose Vehicles division, they installed WALL-MAN® platforms in the paint booths. More recently, in 2006, they established a new manufacturing facility at Mildenhall and it was natural that WALL-MAN® should be specified again.
Of course the WALL-MAN® product has been developed and improved continuously over the years and now incorporates many new safety features and design details to make the use and maintenance of the equipment even easier. The control panel has been completely re-designed, lifting cylinders re-specified to eliminate crevices which could trap dust and dirt, additional protection provided for the piston rods and so on. In fact over the years over 60 design improvements have been implemented, all in accordance with the policy of making small improvements all the time while retaining the basic, well-proven design concepts.
At the new facility two paint booths were installed with a total of six WALL-MAN® platforms, two in a 15m long booth and four in an 18 metre booth. These were the standard Model 1000/100 which has a raised platform height of 3.275 mm to the floor of the cage, giving convenient access for working at height on all normal road vehicles. The cage can also move forward by up to 1 metre so that the operator can position himself appropriately for different width vehicles and so that he can extend the platform at either end of the vehicle to reach those areas without the risk of overbalancing which is always present when using ladders or fixed platforms.