Maintenance Gets a Lift

Issue 10 and Volume 108.

The cost of downtime for baseload power plants easily dwarfs that for any other kind of industrial facility. This has driven the quest for significant improvements in outage times. Today, outage duration improvements are measured in increasingly smaller increments and any equipment that adds to the improvement helps create more revenue-producing hours.

Selecting the right means of accessing power plant work can add serious profit to the bottom line. While lifts and conventional ground-based scaffolds have their place, suspended scaffolds have long been appreciated by estimators and contractors for their speed of set-up and ease of access.

Previously, traction hoists (the main driver that lifts a suspended platform or work cage) were designed to lift and lower workers and materials without much thought to downtime. Power Climber, a Seattle-area manufacturer and supplier to the power industry, is changing that with the launch of its new PC3 hoist. The hoist offers some dramatic improvements over other hoist models that will be especially attractive to the power industry, and allows significant reductions to repair times.

Power Climber designed many ergonomic, service time reduction, and performance features into the traction hoist. Most improvements simplify operator decisions. Examples include locating all operating controls in one line of sight, labeling in English and Spanish, simplifying operating instructions with visual management cues, and offering an ergonomic design with handles to accommodate multiple carrying positions.

“The voice of the customer drove nearly every design decision,” says Liz Callahan, vice president of Power Climber. “A good example is the decision to build the remote pendant port into every hoist. A contractor just plugs his remote into the port and powers the unit up.”

There is no need for the contractor to drill and wire a remote into the hoist. We know that more contractors use this feature regularly. It only makes sense to build it into the unit.”

The PC3’s voltage range at lower voltage allows operation for longer periods than other hoists. This matters in power plants because power plants often have poor voltage conditions during maintenance.

For more reliable operation, all electrical controls are mounted on a motherboard located inside the electrical box cover. Instead of swapping out a hoist, or even a power pack with an electrical problem, the motherboard can be replaced altogether. Workers of any skill level can solve an electrical problem in about five minutes by removing the cover, unscrewing three connections and four plugs to make the motherboard replacement.

Whether used alone on a work cage for spot work or on a swing stage for more extensive repairs, the PC3 hoist fits all current model platforms, is compact for easy storage and can be quickly deployed for work. Photo courtesy of Power Climber.
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