Platform customised for cleaning aircraft wins gold award

An ST Aerospace Engineering team has won a Gold Workplace Safety and Health Innovation Award for building a height-adjustable working platform customised for commercial aircraft.

Team Wade, led by Mr Aaron Ng, 40, and Mr Alfred Chua, 57, wanted to address fall-related injuries, which were a risk given the existing equipment used in aircraft maintenance.

For example, the curved shape of aircraft windshields makes it difficult for workers in scissor lifts, which elevate workers vertically, to clean and maintain them without reaching over the railing.

The use of boom lifts, which can be manipulated in three dimensions, is limited by space constraints inside aircraft hangars.

Building scaffolds around the plane is the safest option, but is very time-consuming.

The team thus came up with an adjustable platform with removable railings and a retractable floor plate cut to the shape of the aircraft nose.

This allows workers to work at varying heights without the risk of falling.

The platform operates without any hydraulics, pneumatics or electronics, making it low-maintenance and easy to operate.

The staircase leading up to the platform features a sliding extension mechanism, which allows the incline to remain unchanged at different heights. Existing height-adjustable platforms have staircases of fixed lengths, which means that higher levels of elevation will cause the staircase to become steeper and more dangerous.

Rei Kurohi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2016, with the headline 'Platform customised for cleaning aircraft wins gold award'. Print Edition | Subscribe