Twin elevators assist with dom tower restauration

The dom tower in Utrecht is the highest church tower in the Netherlands. The 700-year-old landmark rises 112 meters above the city. At this height, the tower is exposed to severe weather conditions that have led to erosion of the structure over the centuries. In 2019, a large-scale restoration has started, which mainly includes the renewal and restoration of the natural stone elements, the maintenance of the joints and various forging works.

Especially in the upper area up to the top of the tower, there is a lot of restoration work to be done, as there is still many historical materials from the construction period. Fittings, rusting anchors and slates will also be renewed. On the lower two levels, the focus is on the damaged tufa columns and blocks and natural stone balustrades. Other components, such as woodwork, stained glass, the carillon and church clock will also be restored as needed.

During the restoring works, which are managed by the construction company Nico de Bont BV from Vught, the dom tower is completely surrounded by scaffolding. Two Böcker passenger and material hoists do not only bring materials and craftsmen up to the heights. During the construction phase, they also allow visitors a quick ascent and make the tower temporarily accessible for people with reduced mobility.

Material transport up to a height of 106 m

A large part of the restoration work at the tower includes the renewal and refurbishment of the natural stones, from heavy blocks to sculptural ornaments. In order to transport both the heavy construction materials and the construction workers up to the heights, a Böcker rack and pinion hoist Super-Lift LX PM has been installed at the dom tower. Together with the scaffold, it gradually grew to a transport height of 106 m and in the process brought the individual scaffold elements to the top during scaffolding. The accessible roof facilitated the assembly of the elevator mast on the scaffold. All anchorage points were easily reachable via the assembly walkway.

In the spacious cabin with dimensions of 1.40 x 4.25 x 2.20 m, the construction hoist transports a load of up to 2000 kg to its place of use in one ascent. In this way, a total of 600 m3 of brick can be efficiently transported and replaced within the 5-year construction phase. The elevator is unloaded at 40 loading points. Mechanical sliding gates on each floor secure access. A stable loading ramp installed on the cabin bridges the distance between the hoist and the edge of the building and lowers automatically by actuating a swivel bracket. During the ride, vertical doors close the lift cabin.

With its robust, well-designed construction, the Super-Lift LX PM offers high reliability and ensures economical operation through low maintenance. This makes it ideally suited for the tough construction site conditions in Utrecht for years to come. Thanks to a low power supply of 63 A, the elevator is cost- and energy-efficient in operation while offering high loading capacities and speeds. The frequency-controlled drive enables conveyor speeds of up to 42 m/min, so that construction work can proceed quickly thanks to the efficient transport of materials.

Barrier-free access to the tower during the restoration work

Until now, visitors to the tower reached the viewing platform exclusively via 465 steps. Since July 2020, a second Böcker Super-Lift LX PM as passenger elevator facilitates the arduous ascent, so that now also persons with reduced mobility can enjoy the view over Utrecht. In twin operation, the visitor elevator shares the steel mast with the transport platform used for the construction works. Within three minutes, the elevator covers the more than 100 m from the dom square to the top of the tower. Smooth starts and stops ensure maximum passenger comfort and minimum wear on all components. The spacious cabin can seat up to 15 people at a time and comfortably take them to one of the two stops in the middle or at the top of the tower. In addition, the elevator is equipped with an intelligent control system so that it independently approaches the individual stops via floor preselection.

Designed as a comfortable passenger elevator, the elevator cabin has large plexiglas windows, handrails and three seating options. During the ride, the lift is closed on both sides with a vertical gate. A double wing gate secures the edge of the building at the landing. Unlocking is automatically initiated by the arrival of the elevator at the floor. The door closure and the door position are electrically monitored.

The temporary Böcker passenger elevator will remain in operation until the restoration work on the dom tower has been completed. When the tower is expected to be restored to its full glory in 2024, it will be dismantled together with the scaffolding. Until then, numerous visitors can still take advantage of the opportunity to climb the dom without any great effort and subsequent aching muscles.

More information about the whole Böcker rack and pinion lift product range

 

The two Super-Lift LX PM hoist in twin operation at the Utrecht Cathedral Tower.