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Scaffolding manufactured from high strength steel

SSAB Tunnpl : 24 June, 2006  (New Product)
Lower weight and simpler to use, the new, latest design of scaffolding manufactured from high strength steel by Haki is around 25 percent lighter than earlier systems. Due to its low weight, the new high strength steel scaffolding will also be able to replace many of the alumi-nium scaffolding systems now available on the market. The new design has been developed to meet the needs of the offshore industry for safer scaffolding systems for maintenance work on drilling platforms in the North Sea.
Haki, which is a specialist company in scaffolding systems, launched an in-house programme aimed at reducing the weight of the company's steel scaffolding systems. The target was to reduce the weight by about 20 - 25 percent, and this target has now been reached. The driving force behind the development was to meet the need for durable and lightweight scaffolding systems for mainte-nance work on oil drilling platforms in the North Sea. Low weight is crucial for scaffolding inten-ded for oil drilling platforms, due to their limited storage and load-carrying capacities. Aluminium scaffolding, which is sufficiently light but very expensive to produce, currently dominates in the offshore industry. However it is more sensitive to damage from impact and is also less resistant to fatigue than steel scaffolding. This reduces the feeling of security for those working on scaffolding, which is often suspended from the platform, with ice-cold open water immediately below.

'The new lightweight scaffolding systems we developed had to meet many demands,' recalls Bengt Olsson, Managing Director of Haki AB. 'In the early days of the project, we tested various materi-als, but we soon realised that the future lay in high strength steels, particularly since the availability of high strength steel tube has improved radically in recent years.'

In addition to changing to high strength steel for the scaffolding, the design has also been modified, contributing further to the reduction in weight and includes the clips between the standards (the ver-tical tubes of the scaffolding). The previous clips were heavy and had welded supports to carry the load applied from above. The new standards are manufactured from high strength steel tube with a minimum yield strength of 400 Nm/mm2 and have folded joints. Due to the high strength of the material, the tube walls are thinner, having been reduced from 3.2 mm to 2.7 mm, which is the minimum it can be. Pressing is carried out in one operation, with one end shrunk and folded to replace the previous welded support. The scaffolding components are produced in a special machine developed in-house by Haki.

'This machine is at the heart of our production system, and just how we go about shrinking the hard steel is our well-kept secret,' continues Bengt Olsson with a smile, while making certain that no one comes anywhere near the equipment that produces the new standards at a brisk pace. 'The new de-sign enables us to save a great deal of time in production, and the result is a much better product with a very close fit.'

A very close fit in the joints and other parts is of major importance to ensure sturdiness and safety in the erection of scaffolding. The Haki scaffolding system can be erected to a height of 200 metres and must therefore be very strong to withstand the stresses imposed.

Another component that has been developed is the location of the clips on the standards onto which the ledgers (horizontal tubes of the scaffolding) are hooked. A symmetrical design has been produ-ced, which makes it easier to erect the scaffolding. The change in design has also contributed to more efficient and profitable production, with simpler stock-keeping of standards for customers.

Other major components of the system, the horizontal transverse tubes (putlogs) and longitudinal tubes (ledgers) supporting the decking are also manufactured from high strength steel with a mini-mum yield strength of up to 600 N/mm2.

'We have achieved the targets we set ourselves, although we intend to go much further in reducing the weight of our products,' declares Ulf Oskarsson, who is responsible for technology and produc-tion at Haki. 'High strength steel is a secure and reliable material, with properties that ensure safety and good economy. We have other new components to develop, both in our scaffolding system and in working platforms and construction site lifts. Our new competence and capacity has strengthened our position in the market. This gives us the energy to forge ahead.'

The most important benefit of the new lightweight system that both Bengt Olsson and Ulf Oskars-son immediately highlight is that the system is better for the users. A quick calculation shows that the daily load that a scaffolding erector must handle is reduced by more than 400 kilos when the new high strength steel system is used.

'Wear injuries are reduced, the work is easier, and employers can expect better profitability in the long term, as personnel remain more healthy,' concludes Bengt Olsson.

Haki AB was founded back in 1956, and the company's Head Office and part of the production facilities are located in the small community of Sibbhult in southern Sweden. The company is currently owned by Midway Holding AB, and has subsidiaries and sales offices in Finland, Denmark, Norway, Great Britain and France. Sales elsewhere in the world are handled by agents.
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