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When customers approach us they usually have a particular scenario that needs solving by our team of experts or they may need help in bringing their ideas to life.

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At Ability International we talk to many people who work at height and we find they often struggle to find a suitable low level access system. Most systems are suited for medium / high-level work but this makes them less than ideal for low / medium level work.

We agree that this has always been a particular struggle for our customers.

One scenario that always comes up is the issue of finding a piece of equipment that is suitable for Interior works. They need something that is portable, lightweight, easy to assemble, easy to access, has a large working area and will offer a selection of heights that cover the equivalent of a hop up to being able to reach the concrete soffit.

The current solution is either a Scaffold Tower or a Podium.

Scaffold Towers are the staple diet of the Construction Industry. They are found everywhere and anywhere on a Construction site. Good they may be, but a common safety issue raised is one where they cannot access it safely at low levels because the trap door is too low to get under. To get around this, the user has to remove the knee rail and clamber onto the platform. This is not good for the user as it may cause the tower to topple over whilst also putting strain on their knees and lower back.

Podiums, on the other hand, are a fairly new addition and address some of the issues associated with Scaffold Towers, mainly the problem of accessing the equipment safely. But, they have a very small constrictive area to work in, which is not ideal when using tools and handling materials. Other disadvantages are the narrow selection of heights offered. Each podium only offers two or three heights compared to the Pod Tower’s five.

A familiar situation for anyone whose work involves Working at Height.

Earlier this year we got chatting to a Dryliner / Ceiling fixer by the name of Rob who was encountering this very problem.

After months of searching for a more suitable piece of access equipment, he found nothing that quite solved all his problems, so set about seeing if he could design it himself.

Rob started off with simple sketches and spent months on the design until he came up with the final version. After the design stage, he then applied for a Patent which was granted five years later.

He went on to name it the Pod Tower. The name was chosen as it has the benefits of a Podium combined with the strengths of a Scaffold Tower.

The Pod Tower he designed is a lightweight aluminium scaffold tower that offers five platform heights that will enable a working height ranging from 2.2m to 3.5m.

The Tower provides a large platform area, a height adjustable telescopic handrail system that is connected to safe inward opening gates and removable external steps that ensure easy access to the working area.

A great advantage of the Pod Tower is that nothing protrudes above the waist rail, and this gives you the ability to handle long lengths of material with ease.

When we met Rob, he was a few years into his project and already had a working prototype up and running. After several months of testing on Building Sites he had identified numerous niggles and alterations needed and got in touch to see if we could help build him a brand new one. We spoke on the phone about his ideas and felt that we should arrange a follow up meeting up at our Manufacturing Facilities.

We carried on talking over the finer details of the mechanics with Rob explaining what he was trying to achieve. We then showed him around our facility whilst offering out helpful suggestions and possible changes that we felt would improve it further. Feeling that this project was worth taking on we offered to help him out on his journey and build his new prototype. He was delighted.

A few months later we had completed the fabrication and invited Rob back down. Slightly nervous we awaited his opinion but the smile on his face said it all. ‘You’ve nailed it’ he said. After a demonstration by our very own Chris, who is the MD, they appraised the Design together and were both delighted with the ease of use and build quality.

Particularly impressed by our production, we could both see the potential in bringing it to Market.

We are now starting our journey into the manufacture and sales of the Pod Tower. We could not be more proud.

Over the past few months Rob has been testing the Pod Tower on Site at Nottingham College. It has been well received by both the Main Contractor and the tradespeople working there. It has developed great interest with all parties seeing the benefits it brings.

The Health and Safety representative for the Site showed great interest. They had a chat whilst he took some photos and commented ‘What a great piece of kit’.

Fellow Drylining colleagues were all in agreement that they wish they had one to use – they would be quicker at their jobs whilst operating safer.

On the subject of the normal scaffold towers, Rob says you get used to it being a pain – some rooms will be easy, some will be difficult. A traditional scaffold needs tops adding on – but when you’re working inside, you’ll often hit the cable tray or air-con because the scaffold is too high for internal work.

“Chris did a great job building my design,” says Rob. “It was a great investment, well worth the price. The cheaper options are just not worth the headache – the brakes keep auto-locking, you have to go looking for the extensions or you are missing a pole somewhere. You have a nightmare with it. This is a low-level access system. You just wheel it in, and can get to work on it straight away – it makes your life so much easier.”

“I’ve been using my Ability International scaffold now for the last couple of months on site – it’s an absolute dream.”

Rob uses his telescopic scaffold tower for installing ceilings and general Drylining works on Site. It fits into his Estate car and only has four major parts to carry: a base section, 1700mm Platform and two handrail sections.

The Pod Tower scaffold can be used by anyone working at height such as Electricians, Dryliners, HVAC specialists, Painters, Plumbers, DIY enthusiasts and anyone working on ducting or light installations, to name a few.

For help and advice on safely working at height, the experts at Ability International are here to help. Please click here to make an enquiry or you can download our Working At Height Guide by clicking here.

 

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