"Houston, we have a problem!" are the words of a well-known, but not quite correctly reproduced, radio message sent by the crew of Apollo 13 to the NASA Mission Control Center at the Space Center in Houston (Texas) on April 13, 1970. Would this famous quote ever have arrived on Earth if there hadn't been a vision in the small community of Raisting in the Upper Bavarian district of Weilheim-Schongau years earlier? A vision describes a desirable state in the future and answers the question: What would our world look like if this vision became reality? Hans Maurer had such a vision - an earth station. On March 26, 1963, the building permit for this was granted on behalf of the German Federal Post Office in Raisting. Could the radio message from the moon be received thanks to this innovative idea at the time?
If you drive past the industrial monument Radom Raisting today, you can still see it: the 49 m diameter strutless air dome, which served as a radar dome (radome) and housed a 25 m diameter parabolic antenna inside. Until 1985, it was part of the Raisting earth station for intercontinental radio communications (telephone and television) via news satellites. One of the most impressive experiences of the facility was the on-site transmission of the moon landing, which was accomplished by radome elevation. The satellite system has permanently changed the culture of communication and perception of the world. A vision became reality in Raisting.
The Munich-based company Roggermaier also had a vision. The slogan "... rent more service!" arose from the desire not just to rent out technology to customers, but to offer them the perfect solution. The company can now look back on 40 years of successful business development. During this time, Roggermaier has continuously invested in a rental fleet of access platforms, forklifts and mini cranes, guaranteeing customers a high delivery capacity and state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly technologies.
Horst Bröcker, Product Manager at Roggermaier, explains: "We opted for electric drives early on because the advantages are simply convincing. Access platforms with battery drive are as powerful in operation as conventional diesel machines, but at the same time enable low noise emissions and complete freedom from exhaust fumes." However, the green fleet was only available for small machines for a long time. The Palfinger P640E access platform was intended to extend the range of applications of the Greenline fleet upwards. Palfinger supported Roggermaier's vision and equipped the P640 with an environmentally friendly battery drive. The P640E now has sufficient payload and the weight of the batteries also provides greater performance data.
Thanks to the battery drive, the Munich-based company is now in an even better position to carry out emission-free operations in city centers. Even night operations and operations in nature reserves are now no longer an obstacle. This was previously unthinkable with truck-mounted platforms in this class. The whole thing is also sustainable: 2.64 kg of CO2 are generated per liter of diesel. The alternative drive burns around 10 liters less diesel per hour and therefore emits 26 kg less CO2 per hour. This means that it can be used in enclosed spaces, such as in a radome, without any further measures. Thanks to the electric motor, the work platform, which is mounted on a MAN TGS 35.470 8x4H-6 BL CH, is ultimately emission- and CO2-free and running costs for fuel as well as downtimes for burning out the particulate filter and the resulting costs can be saved.
As far as the reach of the lifting arm is concerned, the forearm-upper arm concept with jib and 360-degree rotating basket offers maximum flexibility. This is important when it comes to carrying out maintenance and inspection work on the radome's supporting air envelope and installing a monitoring system. The "white balloon" is exposed to wind, air, storms, rain and snow and most recently fell victim to a storm on February 28, 2020: The shell of the radome came crashing down and then lay on the base of the structure below. Water seeped into the operating rooms and destroyed the electrics of the last intact facility in the world. A new shell was installed on October 17, 2021.
Now René Jakob, Managing Director of Radom Raisting, is focusing more on carefully inspecting the system. While the outer shell is inspected by industrial climbers, the seams inside are checked using an aerial work platform. Because of the automatic support leveling feature and the large support stroke, Roggermaier's environmentally friendly platform can adapt perfectly to the conditions on site. As this is an enclosed hall, a platform powered by diesel generators cannot be used. An emission-friendly electric drive is required. Thanks to the electric drive, the P640E access platform can be operated completely emission-free and is therefore equipped for the future. In this case too, a vision has become reality thanks to the support of PALFINGER.
ABOUT PALFINGER AG
PALFINGER is an international technology and mechanical engineering company and the world's leading producer and provider of innovative crane and lifting solutions. With around 12,700 employees (without contingent workers.), 30 manufacturing sites and a worldwide sales and service network of around 5,000 service points, PALFINGER creates added value from the challenges of its customers. PALFINGER is consistently continuing on its course as a provider of innovative, complete solutions that deliver increased efficiency and better operability, while leveraging the potential of digitalization along the entire production and value chain.
PALFINGER AG has been listed on the Vienna stock exchange since 1999, and in 2022 achieved record revenue of EUR 2.23 billion.