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Frame-edged staging - manufacturers/supplies needed


Stuart91
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I've got a minor conundrum with a particular client. They are looking for a modular stage that they can build on uneven ground, but are very strict on manual handling. 

For one event, we supplied some Topdeck with leg-saver adaptors and staff jacks. This ticked the box for being adjustable enough to cope with the ground, but failed the manual handling test.

One critical part of the operation is lifting the decks clear at the end, the only easy way with the leg savers is to crawl underneath and lift the deck straight up. None of them are up for doing that on a regular basis, so we need to find another solution. 

I'm aware of some staging designs that use a separate frame round the edges, with lighter decks that drop in the top. This looks like a concept that would work for these folks, but I'm struggling to find anything. The name that I see around is Layher, but they seem to focus on far larger structures. (This is going to be something like 6m x 4m). I've attached a few images below that I found from a random Chinese seller. I'm extremely wary of buying anything like that, but it's a good illustration of the general design. 

Does anyone know of manufacturers / importers that could supply something similar within the UK?

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Dave m said:

Never used the staging but could sprung flight case handles be installed in the tops?

or a simple hole for a T handle?

That's a nice bit of lateral thinking, but I'm not sure it would work. 

The challenge with conventional "leg savers" is that the deck needs to be lifted straight up, at least until the sockets clear the pegs. This is fine at the edges, but more difficult where decks butt up against their neighbours.

A T-handle of some kind might be a possibility, the main objection from the end users is that stretching over to lift isn't ideal. When I deal with it myself I just crawl underneath and lift straight up, but they'e not up for that kind of manoeuvre. 

The attraction of the framed design is that the decks are just sitting inside a lip, and are lighter in general since the edging and support structure is separate. 

image.png.2beb0681141e7c5cc13820c7f39c0b4c.png

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Not in the UK*, but Scène Éthique make something in this style that is very, very good.  (Cirque du Soleil use it a lot.)

https://www.sefabrication.com/en/products/mobile-stages/

5x5 decks too, so they're pretty light, and it has excellent adjustability for rough ground.

They sure aren't cheap, mind.

 

 

* = I am somewhat obliged to plug the excellent products coming out of Canada these days. 😉

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3 hours ago, Stuart91 said:

I'm aware of some staging designs that use a separate frame round the edges, with lighter decks that drop in the top. This looks like a concept that would work for these folks, but I'm struggling to find anything. The name that I see around is Layher, but they seem to focus on far larger structures. (This is going to be something like 6m x 4m). I've attached a few images below that I found from a random Chinese seller. I'm extremely wary of buying anything like that, but it's a good illustration of the general design. 

Does anyone know of manufacturers / importers that could supply something similar within the UK?

Area Four Industries have their XStage System which does what you're asking for, basically - you can contact their UK office on +44 1945 410700

https://www.xstage-systems.com/products/xstage-systems

Prolyte also have their Easyframe system... conveniently they were acquired by Area Four, so you can contact them at the same time as the above.

https://www.prolyte.com/products/portable-stages/stagedex/easyframe

Total Fabrications (UK-made) have their Arena Deck system - you can contact their UK office on +44(0) 121 772 5234
The deck is heavier than Litedeck (but lighter than steeldeck)... but when you walk on it, it does rather feel like walking on a permanent stage.

https://www.trussing.com/products/arena-deck-staging/

 

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My old favourites Alistage might suit especially for smaller stages. They have the great advantage that to level the units up one removes a cap/plug and with the crank handle supplied adjust the screw jacks which slot into the legs of various lengths. They do all sorts of bespoke adaptations to their standard decks, though saying that they have dozens of different shapes and sizes as "standard".

Never the cheapest but far and away the most helpful. They are near the A1M/M25 South Mimms services, Jct 23.

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Thanks, everyone. I'm in conversation with Alistage at the moment, what we'd be looking for probably wouldn't fit one of their standard product lines but I'll be interested to see if a custom job is possible. 

The Prolyte and Total systems are all a little too high - we're aiming for around the 50cm mark. Again, though a custom option might be a possibility. 

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  • 1 month later...

Depending on how many people are handling, we build Steeldeck on multi leg adaptors by having 3 people, two lift on the diagonal corners and the third pushes down on the far corner furthest away from the 3 leg adaptor so the hard to reach corner pops into the air.
It's a unusual manoeuvre but avoids going underneath, not likely to be professional enough to be a fix to your problem really but just how we do it.

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  • 4 weeks later...
32 minutes ago, tom w said:

Did you resolve this matter yet?

Still working on it. 

AliStage looked very good but the price was way out of the ballpark. (Perfectly justifiable for their usual customers, just beyond ours)

I see from your signature that you do Layher. I'd tried to make some enquiries with them but didn't get very far. Although again I suspect it might be too expensive. 

I'm considering getting something fabricated ourselves, the stumbling point is that we'd still have to use standard decking and need to find a way around the problem of lifting decks off. 

I liked Tom's suggested technique although our people would regularly only have two staff doing the build. Going to try it myself sometime - there are few things I dislike more than having to crawl around under a stage in a public park...

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I was trying to find pictures of a floor cover lifter like this T-Handle Light Duty Lifting Key when I can across Howard Green Floor Access  that have a video showing one person lifting a floor access cover  . You can make a plate or buy one ready made, with a T slot in it to put in each corner of the stage. When a corner is lifted, a piece of wood is slid under that corner to keep it up while you do the next corner. Or you could have threaded inserts in the floor and use one of these Drill Press Clamp with the arm modified to lift on the support frame edging ?

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Don't tell anyone Stuart but take a look in the Alistage catalogue at the levelling screwjacks and aluminium couplers including the stage joiners that they manufacture and use them to design the bits required to support your bespoke frames using lightweight tops in ply.  Ordinary scaff screwjacks are an alternative  and this is just a "steal ideas" suggestion.

The problem with lifting on the diagonal for the average punter is that back strain becomes far too easy if normal weight Alideck or Steeldeck is used. Even Litedeck can be awakward if it twists. 

The computer room flooring is OK indoors but not brilliant for height adjustment and setting up on soft surfaces. It can also be pretty expensive IIRC. 

The late, great John-Henri Mills solved these problems with one word; "Samoans". His rugby club was a great crew recruiter and watching one of his South African locks skipping gaily along with a Steeldeck on each arm changed my whole approach to the slide showing manual handling weight guidelines. It may well be that if they are that concerned about manual handling that they need more and/or bigger bodies. 

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On 4/12/2022 at 1:42 PM, Stuart91 said:

I liked Tom's suggested technique although our people would regularly only have two staff doing the build. Going to try it myself sometime - there are few things I dislike more than having to crawl around under a stage in a public park...

We did a 32 8x4 steeldeck strike on Saturday on leg savers and we didn't go under one of them, with steel deck you can just manage with two if the person on the short edge can lift with one hand and push down in the far corner with the other so you might get away with Ali. You don't need to carry it right out, just lift the difficult corner up six inches to get it on top of the next deck where you can then reposition to the two short edges and carry it out. One you've got the hang of it it's surprisingly controlled

It goes in the same way, carry it to within about a foot of the corner lapped over the long edge of the next deck, the person who's going to get trapped in repositions to the outside edge at that corner, person (or two) on the other short edge, the deck just needs lifting on the touching long edge and pushing down on the corner that's got the single leg on and the furtherest corner getting trapped in will float into the air. One person can do do both at the easy end if they can lift one corner of the the deck with one hand and push down with the other.

Because the single corner that needs to be pushed down has the single leg on it you just need to keep everything higher up so that leg doesn't hit on the floor

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You and I could do it Tom, but having tried once with a keen but inexperienced volunteer I suspect Stuart's clients fall into that latter category. Easy enough with one metre legs but awkward at 400/500mm. Striking a stage is a lot easier than building it in manual handling terms. The problem is that one person is taking the bulk of the weight in one hand while pressing down with the other and for longer than when de-rigging. Too easy to generate back strain and Stuart seems to be designing a system for volunteers to operate. 

They found a solution but they don't have enough money and we go back to an area of discussion that first brought me to BR; if you can't afford it you can't do it. 

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Yes, that’s true, however if this is 2x1m aluminium instead of 8x4’ steel things might be in your favour.

The only other thing I can thing of is putting each deck on 4 legs and packing the bottom with ply, which covers uneven ground but is more work. 

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