Easi UpLifts, owners of one of the largest fleets of Genie® equipment in the UK and Ireland, provided its customer SH Structures with a brigade of eight Genie articulating and telescopic boom lifts to help build “The Kelpies.” Created by Glasgow artist Andy Scott, the monumental 30 m (98.4 ft) high, 600 tonne, two-headed horse sculpture, is part of The Helix, a huge parkland project connecting communities between Falkirk and Grangemouth in Scotland.
Delivered from the Easi UpLifts depot in Glasgow, the eight Genie® booms worked intensively and reliably to help construct the two equine masterpiece’s, 160-tonne steel substructures, and clad them each with 140 tonnes of 468 individually shaped heavy grade stainless steel panels. A canal running between the sculptures’ of the massive horse heads added to the challenges of a high-precision, five-month mission.
Rising to the demands of a delicate task with limited access
“Once we were filled in on the type of work that would be taking place, we provided training which is part of our company’s safety policy,” notes Alan Gordon, Area Sales Manager based at the Easi UpLifts Glasgow depot. “Even when our customers’ operators are highly experienced and qualified, we feel that this is the best means of making sure they benefit from the full extent of the machines’ capabilities. To provide ample space for two workers and their tools, we also equipped the machines with the extra large eight foot (2.4 m) Genie work platform, which is a solution that we recommend at Easi UpLifts for any job involving booms above 24.4 m (80 ft).”
Built-in features for safety and efficiency
Among other unique features, Genie boom lifts are also provided with an optional built-in generator, a feature Easi UpLifts recommends to its customers, particularly for work at great height. “In addition to the convenience of having their own generator to power the workers’ tools, this system is also a strong safety benefit,” says Alan. “Unlike machines by other brands, the power lines are neatly fitted inside the boom which means that there is virtually no risk of getting hooked up with loose cables.”
High-precision access and manoeuvrability
Work began in June with the installation of the sculpture’s huge structural steel framework. In conjunction with cranes, thanks to their four-wheel drive and four-wheel steer option and high ground clearance, the eight Genie boom lifts manoeuvred rapidly together among a considerable number of obstacles to fetch and fix the bolts used to hold the intricate maze of girders firmly together.
As the weeks drew on, the machines then proceeded with the lifting and placement of the sculpture’s stainless steel cladding – a job that involved working in extremely confined spaces at very tight angles. “Due to the canal in between the two horse heads, access was also limited and much of the work had to be carried out from one side. This is why we recommended using two Genie® Z™-135/70 articulating boom lifts for this particular job,” notes Alan.
Unrivalled up-out-and-over positioning capabilities
The Genie Z-135/70 lift features a revolutionary three-section boom design to combine a market-leading “up-andover” clearance of 23 m (75.45 ft), with a horizontal reach of almost 20 m (65.5 ft). “The Genie Z-135/70 lift is indeed a machine in a field of its own,” notes Alan. “Our customer’s operators were so impressed that they would not have wanted to be without it. They also remarked on the smoothness of the platform’s movements and the high precision of the machines proportional control system which enabled them to progress more efficiently and rapidly with seamless results.”
Completed according to schedule, The Kelpies were ceremonially “topped out” at the end of last year. The landscape immediately surrounding them was opened to the public in April this year and is expected to attract thousands of tourists to boost the region’s local economy. “It was a pleasure to work on such a prestigious job, and we are glad to have played a small part in the construction of such an impressive and already internationally renowned Scottish landmark,” says Alan.