Locker Group presents its Summit roof walkway kit.

Locker Group’s Summit Kit: A convenient roof access safety solution

 

Locker Group is proud to present our Summit Kit, a simple, out-of-the-box solution that allows your roof access to comply with the Australian walkway standard. Let’s take a look at what this product has to offer and how it can help your business improve its workers’ safety.

Roofs, safety, and regulations

There are many reasons why you’d need to regularly get onto roofs of industrial buildings, including accessing air conditioning units or solar panels, general roof maintenance and cleaning. Getting access to the roof of an industrial building can be a serious safety hazard – one that Mike Back, Locker Group’s National Business Development Manager, says many companies are not aware of.

According to Safe Work Australia, 25 workers had fatal falls from roofs in the period 2003–04 to 2010–11. The Australian standard AS 1657-2013 strongly recommends that external ladders giving roof access lead to a two metre walkway, with handrails, heading away from the edge of the roof. A lot of buildings, particularly older ones, are potentially non-compliant with best practice as described in the standard.

Locker Group provides the solution

The Summit Kit is ideal for retrofit application to make existing buildings compliant.

Solving this problem was our starting point for developing the Summit Kit product. Locker Group wanted to provide a simple, quick solution that would allow businesses to make their roof access safer without unnecessary bother or cost. Mike Back sums it up:

“We’re going to make a complete off-the-shelf kit, so everything you need is in the box, it’s been tested to the standard, and it can be assembled by a competent person. If you’ve got an older building that isn’t compliant, you can easily get one of these kits and it’ll sort out your problem.”

We developed a product to be an immediate, complete solution to the apparent situation. The Summit Kit is an off-the-shelf package, available for a fixed price, that is compatible with a wide range of roof types. It is ideal for retrofit application to make existing buildings compliant.

Our Summit Kit offers an immediate solution to the problem of roof access safety.Our Summit Kit offers an immediate solution to the problem of roof access safety.

The Summit Kit offers a faster, more reliable option

While other companies can build something to fit, a bespoke solution has drawbacks. The process of measuring, designing, quoting and finally installing can be long-winded and costly, and other products, despite claiming to solve the issue of compliance, might not necessarily have all the correct testing. Customers can be reassured that the Summit Kit does what it promises – this product has been designed and fully tested specifically to do this job and be compliant with the relevant standard.

Easy on roofs

A consideration for any equipment installed on roofs is its weight. Because the Summit Kit is made out of aluminium it is very light, with a minimum installed weight of just 30 kilograms.

A further unique benefit of the Summit Kit that other products lack is the use of Gripspan walkway planking. Any walkway system you install is going to need some sort of support framework underneath, which adds weight to the overall structure. Because Gripspan only needs supports every two metres, it reduces the weight of the Summit Kit and therefore the stress it puts on your building’s roof.

Gripspan’s design also minimises the contact points with the roof itself. Reducing the need for screws though the roof means fewer compromised points where moisture can get through and potentially cause leaks.

Gripspan planking means the Summit Kit is lightweight and durable.Gripspan planking means the Summit Kit is lightweight and durable.

The Summit Kit’s easy installation

The Summit Kit is designed to save you time. Its out-of-the-box setup requires only basic effort for installation. There’s no need for complicated cutting or time-wasting painting. All you have to do is rivet or screw the kit together, meaning it can be assembled and installed within a short amount of time. Its hardy aluminium construction means you won’t need to do a lot of maintenance once it’s installed, and rust isn’t a worry – this is a long-lasting product that you can set up and then get on with your business.

The Summit Kit easily integrates with existing roof walkways and other Lcker Group products to complete your roof safety system. For new buildings, or ones that require a full roof access solution, Locker Group can provide products such as Gripspan that will work in tandem with the Summit Kit to provide safe walkways and access from scratch.

Where the Summit Kit excels, however, is in situations where an existing building has some roof access already, but needs extra safety equipment to make the entry point safer for workers and to bring it up to standard. The Summit Kit provides this in a quick, convenient package.

The Summit Kit contains everything you need, straight off the shelf.The Summit Kit contains everything you need, straight off the shelf.

The Summit Kit is Locker Group’s newest initiative to supply products that deliver practical safety measures to a range of industries. If you’re concerned about bringing your non-compliant building up to standard for roof access safety, then Locker Group’s Summit Kit is an easy, reliable solution. For any other roof access or industrial building issues, please get in touch today to find out how we can help.

With more workers set to enter mining, what can you do to keep them safe?

Increased mining vacancies are an opportunity for a renewed focus on industry safety

 

Australian mining is enjoying an increase in job vacancies after a period of decline. This expansion is a good opportunity to take a look at workplace safety in the industry and what Locker Group can do to help.

Mining industry hiring again

Mining job vacancies dropped sharply between 2013 and 2015, but have stabilised and are now increasing, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) economists report.

According to CBA. the steepest increase is seen in the coal mining sector and is happening more for temporary positions than permanent ones, which have stayed fairly stable. The possibility that the upswing will extend to permanent positions depends on economic factors.

The coal sector is leading the increase i mining job vacancies.The coal sector is leading the increase in mining job vacancies.

A starting point for renewed attention on safety

The employment growth that comes from these vacancies may involve new workers to the industry, or a higher rate of employment for already experienced miners. In either case, this upturn is a good opportunity for a reassessment of workplace safety in the mining industry. Safe Work Australia says a sensible time for health and safety training is when people change jobs or employers take on new workers. A shift in the workforce may bring in new people unfamiliar with mining safety practices, and experienced workers can benefit from being reminded that safety is a priority.

Mining site safety is a combination of sensible practices and the right safety equipment.

The risks of mining

There were 17 deaths on Australian mining sites in the 2013-14 year. That number has dropped in the past two years, but according to Safe Work Australia there were were still 10 mining deaths recorded in 2015.

Strategies such as Australia’s National Safe Work Month or the push by US Department of Health and Human Services to improve miners’ training are positive steps to reducing these figures. But beyond ensuring your workers’ understanding of mine safety is up -to-date, it could pay to use this as an impetus to look at safety equipment as well. The actions of your workers will impact on their safety, but the setup of the mine itself, and the safety equipment you put in place, will also determine how well you protect your workers’ welfare.

Locker Group safety products help you protect your workers

Mining site safety is a combination of sensible practices and the right safety equipment. Locker Group provides a range of products including gratings, walkways and handrails to ensure your workers have the safest conditions possible.

Safety is important to us, and now is a good time to make sure it’s a priority for your workplace too. For more information about the products we offer, please get in touch today.

Airports often have perforated metal ceilings that allow sunshine to fill the space.

Aesthetic and functional benefits of perforated metal in airports

 

Did you ever wonder what exactly it is that make airports all have that same quiet, bright, modern and clean feel? Perforated metal ceilings are one of the main architectural elements that you’ll find in almost every international airport. The advantages of using perforated metal are both functional and aesthetic: The metal creates a striking visual display for travellers as well as creating pleasing acoustics and a clean environment.

Discover the functional advantages of perforated metal – cleanliness and sound absorption – and how the material can be made aesthetically pleasing.

Sound absorption 

Have you noticed how strangely quiet airports can be and how sound seems to serenely echo throughout the open space? The Industrial Perforators Association (IPA) explains that one of perforated metal’s most important benefits is sound absorption. Any business looking to create a pleasant atmosphere without too many voices overlapping should consider perforated metal.

One of perforated metal’s most important benefits is sound absorption.

The material is designed to either absorb sound or scatter it. The IPA explains that perforated metal can remove or reduce sound by “tuning” the perforated sheet, in a sense.

It can be tuned by controlling the thickness of the perforated sheet and the size and number of holes in it. The holes make the sheet more “transparent” so that sound can easily pass through the material. Perforated metal can thus be customised to fit the amount that an airport, or any business, wants to control sound by controlling the number of holes and the thickness of the sheet.

Aesthetics 

In addition to being an effective barrier for sound, perforated metal is also aesthetically pleasing and versatile.  At Locker Group, we know that designers frequently feel too restricted in the design they can create because of the material they’re working with. But there are less limitations when it comes to perforated metal.

The IPA further explains that a company will be able to personalise the look of perforated metal because it’s capable of being manipulated into complex and curved sheets. Perforated metal brings a lot of product versatility, giving a business the capability to personalise its architectural products.

Also, spaces like airports often require divides between the many different terminals and airlines. So, perforated metal provides an attractively designed divide to an area, too.

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Furthermore, perforated metal can make it so airports are flooded with beautiful sunlight but still able to provide shade. The sheets effectively screen light while also allowing some of it to enter. The entrance of light provides a sense of warmth while also practically shielding travellers from the glare of the sun.

Cleanliness

Lastly, perforated metal is unique in providing more sanitary condition, which is particularly important for airports, known germ factories.

Perforated metal is exceptionally clean because of the smooth surface.

Auckland, New Zealand is an example of a world-class airport utilising perforated metal for this very reason. With an exceptionally smooth surface, the material doesn’t trap microbes or bacteria as easily as its rougher counterparts. This can contribute to higher air quality, not to mention the fact that it’s easier to clean for maintenance staff. Considering over 8 million people pass through Auckland Airport annually, minimising the chances of germ exposure for travellers is essential – and perforated metal helps this cause.

Locker Group has experts in perforated metal who can help you customise the material for your company’s specific needs. You’ll glean the functional benefits of perforated metal as well as create striking and unique architectural designs.

How do we perforate our metal sheets, and what do people do with them once they're made?

Looking into perforated metal: what we do with hundreds of thousands of holes

 

The various outcomes of perforating metal are an important aspect of what we produce here at Locker Group, and an area in which we have a lot of experience. We thought it was worth taking a closer look at what it is, how it works and what we can do with this lightweight, versatile product.

The perforation process: What happens?

As Mert Tavsanli, Locker Group’s Perforation Manager, describes it, perforation is done with hydraulic machines that “basically consist of a punch and a die.” The punch penetrates the material, pushes out the slug (the excess metal) through the die, and creates a hole.

Mass perforation machines can punch up and down anywhere from 120 hits per minute up to 500 hits per minute, making two to four rows of perforations with every hit, thus creating hundreds of thousands of holes in minutes. These are not used for every project, however; a lot of architectural products will be manufactured using a linear punch press. The pattern can be made using standard dies, or customised tools if the project demands.

Although the bulk of the perforation we do at Locker Group is to aluminium and steel, the process can be applied to other metals such as brass or copper, and also non-metal products like MDF, plywood, plastics like polyethylene and polypropylene, and polycarbonate materials.

“Effectively we can punch any malleable material” says Mert.

Pic-Perf is an aesthetic application of the perforation process.Pic-Perf is an aesthetic application of the perforation process.

Pic-Perf – an aesthetic evolution

We’ve adapted the perforation process to create our Pic-Perf product, which uses varying sized holes to recreate a figurative or abstract image in a perforated sheet. According to Mert, the difference between Pic-Perf and regular perforation isn’t so much about the punching technique as the preparation and digital file creation leading up to it. A customer will supply an image which is translated into a digital file suitable for the perforation process. This file is fed into the programming software and the image is applied to the metal in the same way as regular perforations.

What happens to the holes

What happens to the metal that’s punched out of the sheet?

“It’s all recycled,” says Mert. “It goes to a foundry where it’s melted down and reused. A lot of it used to be recycled into car parts for the automotive industry, but now that’s gone they’re finding other homes for it.”

The benefits of perforation

The strength of perforated metal comes from its versatility and customisability. While there are plenty of pre-defined die shapes, a unique die shape is also a possibility.

“If you can draw it, you can make the hole just about whatever shape you like,” says Mert.

Perforated metal often fills a dual role: not only is it an aesthetic device, it is also functional.

Once the perforation is done the sheets themselves offer a range of applications. You can leave a border or a solid edge around the perforations, which makes it easier to work with and easier to fix to a structure. Unlike some other screening materials, perforated metal doesn’t need to be put into a frame, making it more cost effective.

Curving and folding the sheets can create interesting visual devices, and it also has the structural benefit of adding rigidity, which means fewer supports are necessary.

Around 95 per cent of Locker Group’s work for architectural applications is aluminium panels, which are light and pliable. “It has great anti-corrosion characteristics so it lasts for a long long time,” Mert says. “You could put perforated aluminium into an area with a design life of 50 years plus, easily.”

The lightweight nature of aluminium also has the benefit of reducing the load put on a building by the sheets and their supports.

The uses of perforated metal – where does it end up?

Perforated metal has a huge range of uses, which can broadly be separated into industrial and architectural applications.

Some of its industrial uses include watering the pulp in paper mills, crushing and squeezing sugar cane, shielding electrical devices to reduce EMI/RFI radiation and as speaker grills or lining on transmissions in motor vehicles.

In architectural projects our perforated metal sheets have been used for ceiling tiles, balustrades, privacy screens, partitions, infill panels on bridges, sunscreens, decorative screens and facades. Perforated metal often fills a dual role: not only is it an aesthetic device, it is also one that has a functional purpose – usually reducing sunlight or moderating sound in a space.

Atmosphere – sustainable sun protection

Our Atmosphere facade is made of perforated sheets supported on stainless steel cables. The facade is held out from the building’s surface where it can limit the effects of direct sunlight without interrupting visibility from within. The aluminium sheets are folded in one of our standard configurations designed to optimise sustainability, visibility or ventilation. These configurations can also be customised to suit individual projects.

Perforation is a widely applicable process, and the results can have any number of uses. We’re proud that our product is used in such a varied and exciting range of projects. But perforation isn’t all we do at Locker Group. To talk about the products we supply and how they could help your project or business, please get in touch today.

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