Verlinde hoist gives flight to giant heron
A heron with an 8-metre wing span carrying passengers flies over the great model of the Heron Tree set in the middle of the gallery. The public are invited to fly over the Heron Tree under its wings. The exhibit is lifted by a 5-metric ton capacity Verlinde Eurobloc VT4 drum-equipped electric wire rope hoist.
A special feature of the machine is that it is fixed to a rotating ring gear that is itself fixed under the suspended crane to perform the circular heron flights while integrating a pantograph lifting mechanism. The heron and consequently the hoist and crane are radio controlled by an operator.
Any moving object accessible to the public is subject to extremely rigorous European standards with very strict safety rules which apply to the whole kinematic chain, especially when applied to flights for the public.
While the combined weight of the machine and persons is less than 1.5 metric tons, a hoist with a 20 metric ton capacity had to be used. The Verlinde VT4, installed by Sere Maintenance, is ideal for the job because it integrates numerous safety features, including load limiter, double safety brake and overspeed detection system.
It also integrates a position-enabling slave encoder which in time will allow the Heron to be fully automated. The two reeving winches are mounted in the pantograph mechanism for visual reasons and to enhance amplitude of movement.
Other lifting technologies installed by Sere include a suspended crane in the construction shop and a portal frame in the maintenance shop.