Safety issues in lift towers


The Spanish company GUIL prepared an article especially for ZioGiorgio that gives us an idea of the importance of applying safety standards during the development of devices for hoisting, and also prior to the acquisition of new gear.

It’s always surprising to hear that professionals invest heavily in sound and lighting equipment, and then use cheap or poor quality accessories to fly this expensive equipment.
This is a trend that has been pretty clear so far, but more and more professionals are now looking for quality products to fly up equipment. The market needs the security of the brackets to be proportional or even higher than the quality of the equipment.
But what does a professional need to pay attention to when choosing a lift tower? A question that we will try to give a good answer to because it is a current topic for the assembly of structures and events, and especially when it comes to hanging audio systems.

Let’s try to clear things up in this great world of forklifts, first discarding all the machines that do not meet the current standards regarding quality system issues.
One of the industry’s most important rules is the BGV C1, which regulates lifting and rigging equipment and all elements of stage production and the entertainment industry. The adoption of this standard is mandatory only in Germany which, as we all know, is a pioneer in security, and is entirely voluntary but is highly recommended elsewhere.

Based on the BGV C1, manufacturers assure users that the lifters have passed strict controls during design, choice of materials or load checks and efforts. Its implementation is vital because in theaters, stages, and general events lifters are used to raise loads of artists, technicians and maintenance personnel, and in some cases above the public, representing a potential risk of falling loads.
This rule states that lifter manufacturers must adopt designs and use materials to achieve the maximum safety in load bearing, balance, friction resistance, height, etc.
Another important rule is the 2006/42/EC, which establishes the essential health and safety requirements relating to the design and manufacture of machines because (as the legislation itself emphasizes) “The machinery sector is an important part of the mechanical sector and one of the industrial mainstays of the Community economy. The social cost of the large number of accidents caused directly by the use of machinery can be reduced by integrating safety during design and construction of machinery, and installation and proper maintenance.”
When choosing a lift, DIN standards 56921-11 and DIN 4113-1 are also important.

Something that the professional might ask is: What is a DIN standard? The DIN (Deutscher Industrie Normen / German Industry Standards) got their final push in the early twentieth century, although they had been developing with the Industrial Revolution in highly industrialized countries in the nineteenth century. They were created because of the need to improve the quality of products, which were increasing almost day by day. They are now used throughout the world and are synonymous with quality products.
DIN 56921-11 standard (or DIN 56950, which is very similar) refers to the safety requirements and tests for lifters, rigging systems and stage machinery especially in theaters, and indoor scenarios.
DIN 4113-1 standard is more specific and refers to the static analysis and structural design of aluminum machinery used on temporary mounts.

On the other hand, in order to achieve optimal performance of the elevators, and besides the responsible use of the unit, they are recommended to meet basic standards and respect the maximum load or its balance, always using common sense. Manufacturers always have to accompany a sale of elevators with the relative documentation of use and certificates.

That said, professionals have a difficult choice to make when choosing a lift tower due to material available on the market without any control or certification and in violation of the fundamental requirements in terms of materials, design, safety tests, etc.



If we go more into the specifics of the elevators and look at their technical characteristics, there are many details that must be considered each time when comparing models and manufacturers.

The use of quality capstans (often called self-locking winches), incorporating automatic safety systems that block the load at the desired height and prevent reverse, are an important example. It is essential that the capstans chosen by the manufacturer are oversized in the same way as the steel cables.

One of the problems that professionals are facing is resistance on lifting loads: this is due to the use of a capstan that is too loose compared to the maximum load for that tower. This is a defect of many of the towers that are present on the market, and for this reason it is very important to check the kind of capstan installed when purchasing a lift.

It is also good practice to check with the manufacturer regarding the aluminum alloy used for elevators racks. The best alloy for aluminum is EN-AW 6082 T6, which ensures both flexibility and resistance.
It is also very important (and recommended) to carry out periodic maintenance performed using skilled technicians to check the conditions of the wiring and capstan, rollers, proper functioning of the safety pins and the perfect folding/unfolding of the complete set of racks/profiles. Lifters/hoists (and all products in general) should be purchased only from certified manufacturers that have security as a top priority in the design and production of the models of towers.



GUIL: history and products

GUIL, based in Valencia (Spain), is one of the most experienced European manufacturers (30 years) in this sector with over 30 models that can be adapted to all needs.
Since its founding in 1983, GUIL has invested in advanced R&D technologies with the main objective of offering the best products in the industry in terms of safety, with absolute conviction that this is a guarantee of reliability and robustness.
The ELC range of mechanical lifting towers, which are one of the most used products in the market for lifting structures, sound and lighting systems, etc., have three security systems, ensuring maximum reliability during lifting and lowering of loads: ASB GUIL® system (Automatic Safety Brake System), which is a ratchet mechanism with safety pins; the brake capstan that blocks loads at the desired height and prevents their descent; and the special oversized 3/1 steel core cable that prevents torsion.
Safety increases in the ULK series of front loading elevators, through a series of highly innovative details: ASB GUIL® (Automatic Safety Brake System) with IPB GUIL® system (Internal Pendulum Brake System). The latter is an additional safety system comprising internal pendulum, which is automatically activated in each section when it undergoes low fall speed, and is unlocked by means ofof a trigger that holds each segment. The third security system is the brake capstan. A key element that ensures the safety of all products manufactured by GUIL is the oversizing of all components.
GUIL welcomes all professionals to its factory in Valencia (Spain) to test its products and verify their quality. The company’s technical team is on hand to advise about the preparation of any event and resolve all customers’ queries.

Fabio García
ZioGiorgio Network

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