PowerSeat® Raises Productivity in Telecoms Mast Maintenance

Business Segment: Safety at height, rope access

Location: Nationwide, UK

Project Description: Arqiva is a leading UK communications infrastructure company. Its mission is to enable a vibrant digital economy. With some 8,000 active sites, it is the only UK wide provider of terrestrial broadcast television and radio. Arqiva’s technology enables them to work with all of the UK’s mobile operators from BT-EE, Vodafone and O2, to independent radio groups and major broadcasters, such as the BBC, ITV, and Sky. Its infrastructure services also deliver mobile WiFi across the UK.

When carrying out maintenance on large telecommunications masts, work can be limited by varying weather conditions and reduced daylight hours during winter. This often leaves a small window in which to complete a job. The time taken for an operator to climb and descend a mast can be considerable. Any unnecessary time spent accessing the structure can quickly cause projects to become delayed and costs to rise.

Arqiva required a solution that would enable its operators to safely and rapidly ascend and descend from masts while enabling them to work in comfort as they carry out essential maintenance between adverse weather conditions.

Solution/Equipment Used: A decision was made to rent a Harken Industrial PowerSeat in order to test its capabilities over long ascents and descents. The PowerSeat enables operators to sit on a personnel-riding winch to quickly ascend and descend masts in up to half the time of a manual climb. The PowerSeat has an ascent speed of 15 m/min (49.2'/min).

The powered motor not only decreases set up time, it also reduces the strain of operators by removing the need to climb the mast by hand. The PowerSeat, as a portable winch, can also be used for the raising and lowering of equipment, antennae and steelwork.

The benefits from the time saved and the reduced fatigue from manually climbing masts are further complimented by the new levels of agility created with a PowerSeat, enabling crews to quickly respond to windows in the weather. In this instance, the Gas (petrol) version of the seat was chosen because of its versatility in remote locations.

Summary: Following up on the event, Harken Industrial’s Technical Specialist in the UK, Guy Fulford commented, “By hiring the PowerSeat for a short-term, Arqiva was able to prove its effectiveness within their own application and working practices without the need for larger scale investment. The total project cost saving could then be calculated in order to build the business case for the investment in the PowerSeat on a long-term basis.”

On site for the duration of the hire, the Harken Industrial Technical Sales team were able to offer training to the rigging team to ensure the equipment was used in a safe manner and could fully utilize its capabilities throughout the project.

This Harken Industrial product is featured in the case study above: PWRS-G