Access platform provider Boom Access states that its newest innovation could assist mining companies in improving health and safety performance, while offering time and cost savings.
The Monkey Tower, which was locally launched in June , is inherently safer than scaffolding and will improve any mine’s health and safety record, notes Boom Access director Mark Bind.
“It has the potential to make a difference to a mining company’s health and safety practices, as it tackles the usual dangers of scaffolding and heavy-duty equipment, such as the balancing and fastening of equipment.”
He adds that it can be erected in under five minutes, while the Monkey Tower Mini can be erected in less than 60 seconds by a single person.
The technology is safe to use and complies with European health and safety regulations. The towers are manually operated, saving the user the hassle of having to charge or refill hydraulic access equipment. The equipment is also light, which protects floors from the damage caused by heavy scissor lifts.
The towers offer quick and safe access up to 7.5 m and can be used to service or wash mining equipment and vehicles. The Monkey Tower Mini can fit into a standard lift, while the Monkey Tower wheels are telescopic and can be narrowed to 70 cm for wheeling them down a corridor, Bind explains. “It deals with the frustrations experienced with scaffolding, and cherry pickers, which have to be recharged; however, the Monkey Tower and Monkey Tower Mini are human-powered. The towers also have the potential to reduce labour and outsourcing costs, owing to their ease of use,” Bind explains.
The Monkey Tower weighs 380 kg and can take a safe load of up to 250 kg, allowing two people to work on the platform at any time.
Bind highlights that the equipment can be towed behind any vehicle and includes safety latches that automatically lock ladders in place, with permanent toe-board and handrail fixtures.
“The biggest demand for this equipment is from the construction industry and from small businesses and companies that often require scaffolding or hydraulic access lifts. Anyone who needs to work at height and wants quick, convenient access will benefit from this equipment,” states Bind.
He adds that new uses for the towers are continuously being discovered across industries.
Monkey Tower Development
The Monkey Tower was developed in 2007 by Monkey Tower UK owner Alan Watt. He was working on a PhD in deployable structures at Cambridge University, UK, which focused on developing new concepts for unfolding structures for satellites. This involved manufacturing satellite dishes, and solar panels, which were small enough to fit inside the tight constraints of the launch vehicle envelope.
Additional constraints involved components that cannot be used in space, such as oil or grease, which disappears in a vacuum. Motors also had to be avoided, as power is severely limited before the solar panels are deployed.
Upon completion of his PhD, Watt entered a business plan competition, for which he entered the Monkey Tower innovation and won about £20 000 in funding, with further funding by the UK government.