Making easy work of pipe dreams
Skyriders, a specialist rope access solutions provider, has assisted a large power generation plant in Limpopo in repairing downpipe infrastructure located in six of its units more than 60 m above ground.
“The joints and sealant had been installed over 20 years ago, and were old, brittle and failing,” explains Mike Zinn, marketing manager for Skyriders. “During heavy rains, water in certain areas leaked onto electrical plant components, causing maintenance challenges.”
Zinn points out that the downpipes ran from the roof of the power station units down through the building in zigzag formation into the ground. “This was a highly challenging job as it was almost like a maze,” he notes. “The Skyriders team of rope access technicians were responsible for accessing and inspecting all areas, before taking photos, removing the old sealant, cleaning it up, installing new sealant and taking more photos.”
In total, 255 joints were repaired more than two weeks ahead of the client’s deadline. “Although the scope of work was relatively simple, the access constraints with regards to height, confined spaces and a fully operational plant made for a challenging work environment,” adds Zinn.
“The team did an excellent job from a planning and execution point of view. We explained to the client that rope access was a far quicker and more cost-effective method than scaffolding. This method ensured that the Skyriders team was able to seal the 400 mm pipes from the 30 m level to the 60 m level in 26 days.”
Zinn says scaffolding has proven to be the tried-and-trusted method for above-ground industrial applications over the decades. “However, in industries such as power generation, rope is a far more efficient means of gaining access to a particular high-elevation section of a site – installation is considerably faster and cheaper, and technicians are provided with more flexibility and safety.”