Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Who built the Falkirk Wheel?

Who Built the Falkirk Wheel?

The Falkirk Wheel is the world’s only rotating boat lift and is used to connect the Forth & Clyde and Union canals in central Scotland. It was constructed between the years of 1999 and 2001 and then officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 24 May 2002 as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations. The opening was the culmination of a planning, consultative and funding process that had lasted almost ten years. Ultimately the Falkirk Wheel came into being as a result of partial funding from the Millennium Commission and also other organisations including the British Waterways Board and the European Regional Development Fund.

Who designed the Falkirk Wheel?

There were a number of contributors to the design phases of the Falkirk Wheel. The final design is similar to a Celtic Double-headed Axe. It was a cooperative effort between the British Waterways Board, engineering consultants Arup, Butterley Engineering and a firm of architects called RMJM that was led by Tony Kettle. Together they created a unique boat lift that uses gravity and Archimedes’ principle. 

How Does the Falkik Wheel Work?

The Falkirk Wheel was created to connect the two canals Forth & Clyde Canal and the Union Canal. Where the two meet there is a difference in height of 115 feet.  In the 1930s the canals had been connected by a series of 11 locks.  The Wheel is two balanced water tanks suspended on arms that rotate around a central axis. When the weight is balanced gravity takes down the descending arm and raises the ascending arm at the same time. Each tank can support up to four twenty-meter-long boats at one time. It takes around 4 minutes to complete a turn.  The Wheel uses very little electricity only needing 1.5 kilowatt hours.  You can see the Wheel in action ‘here’.

How has it been received?

The Wheel has become an established tourist attraction. More than 4 .4 million people have visited the Wheel since it opened in 2002 and 1.3 million have taken a boat trip on the Wheel. Around 400,000 people visit the wheel each year.

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Are you currently planning a project that will involve vertical transportation? We would be happy to discuss with you. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 20 7739 5093 or send us an email via peterboardman@dunbarboardman.com to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, 12 October 2015

TÜV SÜD Acquires Dunbar and Boardman Partnership

TÜV SÜD has acquired Dunbar and Boardman Partnership Ltd., the UK-based consulting and planning services provider for the lift, escalator and access equipment sector. Dunbar and Boardman has its headquarters in London, with further offices in the UK, Dublin and Dubai. This will allow TÜV SÜD to continue to expand its real-estate services in the UK and its global network.

"Dunbar and Boardman's portfolio of services is the perfect match for our company," says Dr Ulrich Klotz, Head of TÜV SÜD's Real Estate & Infrastructure Division. "In recent years we have made enormous progress in creating an integrated range of consulting services and our customers are the primary beneficiaries. By acquiring the company, we can achieve several strategic objectives at once."

These objectives span further consolidation of TÜV SÜD's position on the UK real-estate market, as well as the company's plans for global establishment and expansion of consulting services from its Real Estate & Infrastructure Division.

"TÜV SÜD's acquisition of Dunbar and Boardman has given us the status of market leader," explains Michael Valente, CEO of the Western Europe Region at TÜV SÜD.

With almost 60 employees at 12 locations in the UK, and further offices in Dublin and Dubai, Dunbar and Boardman provides a full range of consulting services for the installation, operation and maintenance of lift systems. TÜV SÜD thus now occupies an excellent starting-position from which to roll out further services in the UK and extend its integrated consulting services for the real-estate sector to this market.

"Vertical Transport and Facade Access inspections are areas of core business for TÜV SÜD," notes Peter Boardman, co-founder of Dunbar and Boardman Partnership Ltd. "I am therefore delighted that our company can extend this core business into consultancy and continue our successful development under the umbrella of the TÜV SÜD Group. We look forward to contributing our experience and advancing the range of consultancy services on offer."


TÜV SÜD is a premium quality, safety, and sustainability solutions provider that specialises in testing, inspection, auditing, certification, training, and knowledge services. Since 1866, the company has remained committed to its founding principle of protecting people, property and the environment from technology-related risks. Headquartered in Munich, Germany, TÜV SÜD is represented in more than 800 locations worldwide. http://www.tuv-sud.com

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Who built Britain’s first electric lift?

Modern day entrepreneurs and inventors understandably command a lot of attention in business circles but less focus is placed on their successful predecessors. The vertical transportation industry is littered with the achievements of nineteenth century industrialists and inventors. The story of Britain’s first electric lift begins in 1833 with a man called Robert Waygood. It was in that year that he founded R Waygood and Co in Beaminster, Dorset. In 1840 the company moved to Falmouth Road, Great Dover Street, London. Their stated area of business was the manufacture of lifts and cranes. Their lifts were initially hand operated and then water powered hydraulic lifts were added.

What were the achievements of Waygood and Co? 

Waygood and Co produced hydraulic lifts from 1868 in conjunction with the London Hydraulic Power Company after their first installation of a hydraulic lift in the same year.  They were not the first to install a hydraulic lift. In 1845 the industrialist, William George Armstrong invented a hydraulic crane that paved the way for hydraulic lifts. The first hydraulic lift was installed in 1846. The practicality of the hydraulic lift was internationally recognized when Leon Edoux exhibited one at the Paris Exposition in 1867. Waygood’s first installation was in 1868.

In 1875 Robert Waygood sold his company to J.M Day, Henry Walker and W. R Green and took retirement. It was at this point that the company placed a greater focus on lifts. Between the 1875 and the 1890s Waygood & Co. completed many installations and became nationally recognised in the United Kingdom. Waygood & Co became the foremost lift manufacturer in the United Kingdom. Their notable achievements include the introduction of a direct acting lift that returned water to an accumulator in 1884 and the construction of a water balance lift on the cliff at Folkestone, Kent known as The Leas Lift in 1885.

However, their greatest achievement was probably the introduction of Britain’s first electric lift at the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1890.  The world’s first electric lift had built by Werner von Siemens in 1880 as part of the Mannheim Pfalzgau Trade & Agricultural Exhibition in Germany. Despite lots of interest from hotels at the time Werner Von Siemens did not then focus on converting his electric lift into a practical form of vertical transportation. The first person to use a DC motor for an elevator is believed to have been Wegster in 1884. In 1889 Norton Otis, son of the pioneering Elisha, developed an electric elevator. It was the first direct-connected geared elevator in the world and was installed in the Demarest Carriage Building on Fifth Avenue in New York. Waygood & Co’s electric lift built for the Crystal Palace Exhibition was the first in Britain.

Waygood and Otis 

Hydraulic lifts were still preferred over electric until two significant developments took place. First of all, in 1900 the alternating current induction motor was introduced. Then in 1903 Otis introduced the gearless traction electric elevator that enabled lift cars to transport passengers up high rise buildings with dozens of floors. Otis were not only innovating they were also expanding operations internationally and in 1913 Otis acquired Waygood & Co.  By 1913 Waygood & Co was an officially recognised subsidiary of Otis.  Up to the 1950's the combined company traded as Waygood Otis but then the Waygood name seems to have disappeared.

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Do you have a current or planned project that includes vertical transportation? We would be happy to discuss any such requirements and how we may be able to assist. Give us a call on T +44 (0) 20 7739 5093 or send us an email via peterboardman@dunbarboardman.com to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.