That Which Cannot be Moved

The Tower Rescue of 2020

Abbott Technologies was contracted to repair a tower early in 2020. This is something we do regularly, so of course we agreed. We got the location of the tower, its specifications, age, et cetera and began planning.

We conducted our survey and realised that, while we had not quite bitten off more than we could chew, this seemingly simple repair project was far from simple. The tower was so severely rusted, we were concerned that its structural integrity would become compromised in the near future. We also realised that moving the tower or replacing the tower was absolutely out of the question – there were so many operators on this wonderfully camouflaged tree mast, that taking them offline for even a minute would lead to revenue losses in the tens of thousands, so downtime needed to be avoided at all costs. As a result, we decided to analyse all possible solutions for cost and viability.

Replacing the tower: not an option
Temporary deconstruction: also not an option
Decommissioning: unsurprisingly not an option

We made the decision to reset the clock on the tower by grinding away every last millimetre of rust and degradation, followed by the application of Zincodic, which would prolong the lifespan of the structure and protect it from the elements (better than before). Our qualified rigging teams went about their task of chiselling, grinding, sanding, and priming every inch of the tower.

Once the surface of the structure had been stripped, a Zincodic representative conducted an inspection and gave us the go-ahead to begin application. They also supplied us with a quality plan to ensure proper application. We began our task of layering the Zincodic on the structure. Once it was completely approved by Zincodic themselves, we repainted the camouflage on the structure, and handed it back to the client.

All-in-all, the repairs took just 4 days. If we had replaced or deconstructed the tower for these repairs, it was estimated that there would have been over 160 hours of downtime, combined with the inconvenience to both the operators and the users in the area (read “massive revenue loss”). This process also saved our client over R400,000 in repairs.

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Abbott Technologies is a full turnkey provider to the mobile network industry. As a preferred build and maintenance partner, we offer diverse and innovative solutions.

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