New Technologies and Materials for Creating Safer Scaffolding

Scaffolding is a temporary structure that allows construction workers to access the different areas of construction. They are of auxiliary nature and can have different heights and shapes. Thanks to new technologies, they can even adapt to the surfaces that are under construction. They are vital for the development of the project, not only because every construction depends on them, but also because they take workers to their workplace. Many people’s lives are put above and under their steadiness, workers and pedestrians that pass by, hence, the creation of safer scaffolding is a must to ensure the safety of everyone around.

What are scaffoldings made of?

From the old and famous wooden scaffolds to the more current tubular ones, scaffoldings’ structures have evolved to fulfill the needs of their users. They come in different materials:

Aluminum: This material is resistant and light, and it’s capable of bearing heavy loads which makes it a convenient material for producing safer scaffolding. Aluminum scaffoldings are commonly used to work on the outsides for long times, and it’s an all-time favorite of many constructors.

Steel: Though it’s very heavy, this material has been traditionally used in scaffolding productions because it is resistant, hard, stainless and lasts long.

Fiber: It results from the advancement in scaffolding material and construction material production. It was specially designed to be used in corrosive environments; therefore it means it is stainless and does not conduct electricity.

Bamboo: This material has been very popular in many Asian countries because of its resistance and lightness, and tubular shape that makes it easy to assemble. However, it could be very unstable which becomes a significant disadvantage. Still, it is low cost in comparison to other scaffolding materials.

Wood: Scaffoldings were first created using wood and, although it has not been used anymore, it still is the material used to improvised homemade scaffolding. Wood is not safe, it doesn’t bear much weight, and can be very unstable and slippery. And also, its shape can change depending on the humidity of the environment, affecting the structure directly.

Currently, fiber, aluminum, and steel scaffoldings are the most required by constructors, being metallic ones the most preferred for large-scale and of great heights projects. Plastic scaffoldings, or scaffoldings with plastic components, are also used in medium and small projects.

Technology for safer scaffolding

Technological advances in the scaffolding area occur thanks to the initiative of companies to investigate, create, test and develop substantial improvements in their products, to make easy-to-use safer scaffolding and offer innovations to their clients. The most relevant advances are:

Allround system: Provides a screwless tightening wedge mechanism that allows the instant formation of right angles. This systems simplifies the scaffolding assembly and increases its safety.

Brio system: union and assembly system based on the Brio disc, that allows multi-directionality of great flexibility. It is fundamental to cover constructions of complex geometries safely and efficiently.

Ring Lock or disc anchor system: modular system mostly used by certified scaffolding companies. It works with a rosettes mechanism that can make eight connections in different directions. This lets the structure be safe and efficient, and adapt easily whether it is straight or curve.

Design of scaffolding parts also brings technological advances: the support base for workers changed from smooth to corrugated, intern stairs, incorporation of stronger engines, security straps made with user-friendly materials, and covered base of scaffoldings to prevent pedestrians to access the construction. These are all improvements that are heading towards ensuring safety and ease of work that a scaffold must offer.

A new strength fiber rope was presented in the last international exhibition, BAUMA 2016, which is 80% lighter than the previous steel cables designed for the same use. It was intended to lift enormous weights and allow to increase loads without altering their total weight. This rope means a contribution to the construction and favors the evolutionary development of safer scaffolding.

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