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Monkey Tower


knightdan65
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Hi,

 

Looking for something more efficient than an access tower for rigging at 6m in a small theatre, but can't use scissor lifts etc due to floor load limitations.

 

 

Anyone used one of these 'Monkey Towers' as an alternative to conventional access towers for rigging etc? Any significant drawbacks?

 

Thanks,

Dan

 

P.S have already investigated the winch bars installation route, but the price tag makes this a non-starter for now.

 

 

 

 

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It's an interesting product but I think I'd still rather go for a '1a' pusharound style MEWP. Important to note that most models are pusharound only when at ground level - not to be moved while elevated. Consider rescue of an incapacitated operative - my understanding is that the monkey tower latches and thus couldn't be lowered, whilst a 1a lift always has a release that will allow a gradual descent to ground level. They're still deadly dull slow compared to a 3a/3b MEWP but quicker (and arguably less risky) than building a scaff tower.

 

 

 

A 1a style MEWP should be fine on floor loadings, especially if you went for mains powered rather than battery. Most 1a MEWPs are around 300kg - if your floor can't support that then there may be bigger structural questions about its suitability as a performance venue.

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It's an interesting product but I think I'd still rather go for a '1a' pusharound style MEWP. Important to note that most models are pusharound only when at ground level - not to be moved while elevated. Consider rescue of an incapacitated operative - my understanding is that the monkey tower latches and thus couldn't be lowered, whilst a 1a lift always has a release that will allow a gradual descent to ground level. They're still deadly dull slow compared to a 3a/3b MEWP but quicker (and arguably less risky) than building a scaff tower.

 

 

 

A 1a style MEWP should be fine on floor loadings, especially if you went for mains powered rather than battery. Most 1a MEWPs are around 300kg - if your floor can't support that then there may be bigger structural questions about its suitability as a performance venue.

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I knew I had seen a topic on these, it was 2010. Simon Lewis's estates department had bought one so a PM to him might answer your query.

 

Crumbs - that's an impressive memory recall, Kerry!

 

The University of Derby certainly did have one of these back in 2010, but I only saw it once, and haven't spoken with the Estates guys about its use. I was based on another site, where we had a powered Genie scissor lift, and Estates would come and borrow this occasionally, so I'd guess they found enough jobs that the Monkey Tower couldn't do, to make collecting it worthwhile.

 

I've retired from Uni, so have no contact with Estates anymore, but Kit Lane is still working at Derby, so might be worth checking with...

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Yes I have used one, or something very similar, about 3 or 4 times. One of the companies I worked for had one, I never felt as comfortable/stable as an ali tower and yes it does have to be lowered to move it.

 

Building sites don't (didn't in 2003 to 2005) allow them.

 

Thanks all - I'm enjoying the cleudo-esque direction this thread has taken. The guys from Monkey Tower have offered a free demo so I'll take them up on this and see what I think of it in the flesh.

Well worth the demo. They do worksmile.gif Edited by sunray
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They've been waved at us to try a few times - no specific negative experiences but they always felt very "meh" to me and too much like a designer has worked out a clever mechanism and made it into a product rather than specifically designing a solution to a problem. I'm pretty sure you can't move them in any way whilst they are up so a focus would be 10 mins of build/rebuild for every 3m length of your bar.

 

I've NEVER seen one out in the wild so I'd guess most venues feel the same way too?

Edited by ImagineerTom
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Do you know if it can be moved with the basket raised?

Unless your technicians are expressly looking for Hercules arms, you may find that winding it up and down 4 times along each bar gets tedious quickly. It looks to be a large and therefore relatively heavy basket - so lifting it up will be some effort. I suspect you'll also find that as a result - people try to get more out of it than they're meant to - they'll want to reach as far out of the basket as possible, to save having to reposition it so many times. This is where your accident will occur.

 

Traditionally the AAP Tallescope is the favourite for this. It's made for the unique needs of our industry. For me I vote Tallescope with the upgrade kit and rescue kit.

Psychologically, yes, some people dislike the flexing of the stiles - but it's nothing to worry about. It's a rite of passage to crap yourself a few times up a tally before you become fully comfortable.

It ticks all the boxes - you get the height you need, it's quick and easy to set up, it has a built-in rescue function, and the compact basket makes it much easier to set up around set and lighting.

And unlike most other products - with the upgrade kit, it's approved for being moved around the stage with a technician in the basket. This can be very beneficial in health and safety terms - reducing fatigue (with, I believe, most of our industry's workplace accidents having the root cause either being fatigue, or people taking shortcuts to avoid fatigue) by reducing climbing time.

 

 

Towers of most types are often (usually) too big to fit in the often compact spaces we have to focus in, whilst Genie baskets are better, but the setup time means that people are often reluctant to reposition them if the basket ends up a little in the wrong place - resulting in dangerous over-reaching. I'm not suggesting Genies are dangerous - but anyone who's done a long focus in a Genie knows what I'm talking about. For me it's why the tally is still the best of the bunch - the combination of small footprint, and quick time to reposition and setup - promotes the safest working practices.

Once you get past the initial disco legs I think it's the best product out there.

 

If it's a struggle for some people, then I really liked the Boss Solo 700 scaff tower I supplied to a venue with a 6m grid height. It's a very compact scaff tower which with its clever folding frames can be put up on your own (if so desired). The tower construction rather than ladder-like construction makes them far more stable which, whilst not actually any 'safer', can be comforting for some people.

 

And I hate to say it but for short duration focuses in tricky spaces, there's still not much out there to rival a 12-rung Zarges.

 

I guess what I would say in any case is this - Aluminium Access Products (AAP) who manufacture the tallescope, also do sell towers, ladders and powered access.

They have a lot of experience in supplying products to the theatre industry - it's probably their main business.

So I would say you could do a lot worse than to call AAP, maybe email them some pictures of your space and how you generally use it, and ask what their recommendation would be.

They're certainly well-placed to know the options, the costs, and what other people in similar spaces do.

Edited by dje
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Do you know if it can be moved with the basket raised?

 

According to the user manual at max height of 3m empty.

 

I can see this device as being useful to certain trades but as a tool for frequent repositioning indoors I don't think it's relevant. Continual winding up and down of the outriggers even a bit and the two arm winch would soon get a bit wearing I think. I loathe the Tallescope with a passion (quite irrationally I grant you) but I think the last post gets things right.

 

 

 

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Though the arguments around fatigue with Tallies are blown away by AAP MI's which mandate two people push-pulling, one in the basket and one stood to one side supervising. Where they really fall apart though is on a stage with a set and you can't deploy all four outriggers fully.

 

If you need four staff with at least two trained by AAP and wide open spaces to move a Tallie with someone aloft they lose the flexibility that made them useful alternatives to towers which cost a fraction of their price.

 

I don't think that they have got anywhere near sorting out anything on raked stages and the MI's don't cover rakes and slopes.

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Though the arguments around fatigue with Tallies are blown away by AAP MI's which mandate two people push-pulling, one in the basket and one stood to one side supervising.

 

Urm. Are you suggesting that push/pulling the tally or standing to one side watching is a fatiguing activity? Compared to climbing 7 metres up a vertical ladder all day?

 

Where they really fall apart though is on a stage with a set and you can't deploy all four outriggers fully.

 

With 4 outriggers extended, the footprint is no greater than that of a pusharound Genie or scaff tower.

In fact I see that as a strength of a tallie - on clear stages it has the benefit of being pushed around with a tech in the basket. When on a cramped stage, it can be used more like a ladder, in a similar footprint to that of a ladder, whilst satisfying more of the requirements of a work platform and leave the technician free to use both hands.

 

If you need four staff with at least two trained by AAP and wide open spaces to move a Tallie with someone aloft they lose the flexibility that made them useful alternatives to towers which cost a fraction of their price.

 

I see no mandate for AAP to carry out the training. A competent person can train, surely?

I am sure that you could satisfy the terms of HASAWA by training internally providing it is planned and executed properly.

 

I don't think that they have got anywhere near sorting out anything on raked stages and the MI's don't cover rakes and slopes.

 

Again, for anything other than a gentle rake, you're no better in a Genie and may require a specialist access tower anyway.

As a result theatres employing a raked stage are better off seeking a specific solution for that.

If the OP has a raked stage I'm sure they'd have mentioned it... raked stages don't happen unforeseeably.

Edited by dje
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When I checked out the video, this came up as a suggestion Reechcraft Powerlift

 

You won't be able to move it whilst aloft I'm sure but it has a much smaller footprint than the Monkey Lift. Claims it has emergency descent system which is always an issue with Access Equipment

 

Has anyone seen/used one of these?

 

David

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What is it with companies inventing towers that are significantly more work and hassle than existing projects?

 

Also.... a good quality drill battery I can see maybe one complete up-down cycle, an old one or a non major brand drill and you wouldn't catch me up there with any less than 2 spare batteries.

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