A major project to undertake essential maintenance on the 237-m-tall Sentech Tower in Johannesburg, known originally as the Brixton Tower, has seen leading rope access specialist Skyriders rise to the challenge.
Sentech Tower is a concrete television tower in Brixton, Johannesburg, and is a well-known landmark in the city. While utilised at present for television transmission, the tower was built originally for FM radio transmitters, with its role only switching over to public-television broadcasting over a decade after its completion.
Skyriders commenced with the essential inspection and maintenance work in September 2017, which took five days to complete by a five-person team, comprising a team leader and four technicians. The project was unique in showcasing many of the company’s specialist services.
These ranged from rope access itself in order to scale the top of the tower, in order to inspect the steel-wire cables visually for any potential issues or problem areas, to removing the old corrosion-protection coating, followed by applying a brand-new coating with a 2-mm-thick layer.
The project was particularly daunting due to the height of Sentech Tower, combined with the fact that the technicians had to effectively abseil and simultaneously follow the cables downwards at the correct angle in order to be able to carry out the maintenance work.
Skyriders Marketing Manager Mike Zinn points out that therefore the project required quite a detailed fall-arrest plan. “Another major challenge, apart from the height of the tower, was the high wind and the potential for electrical storms,” he adds.
While this challenging project represents a first for Skyriders, Zinn is confident it is a foot in the door with signal distribution services company Sentech, which has similar structures countrywide, as far afield as Kimberley and Thabazimbi.
“Here these massive lattice-type structures have cables up to 290 m long. Combined with the remote locations and logistical challenges, it represents an exciting opportunity for us to showcase our expertise and full service offering,” Zinn concludes.
Skyriders (Pty) Ltd, established in 1998, is a leader in the South African rope access industry, providing cost- and time-saving solutions to clients in the power generation and petrochemical industries who require rope access aided inspection, NDT and maintenance work to be done in difficult to reach, high-up locations.