Two Helpers at the Fairy Tale Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle is an architectural masterpiece situated in a stunning location. However, the castle’s location is what made the recent renovation of the outside walls so difficult. Two transport platforms from the Bavarian company, GEDA, helped the restoration team perform their tasks in this difficult terrain.
Neuschwanstein Castle is majestically perched on the top of a mountain with fantastic views of the Ammergau Alps. Every year approximately 1.4 million visitors make their way to the place where the “Fairy Tale King”, Ludwig II, realised his romantic dream of a knight’s castle in the 19th century. Time, though, has taken its toll on the idyllic location. The tough mountain environment has severely impacted the building’s limestone walls. A complete restoration was needed urgently. The two most pressing jobs: repair cracks causing water leaks and replacing the grout.
Beautiful as the exposed location of the fairy tale castle is, it made access to the building very difficult for the construction crew and their machinery. The greatest challenge was erecting scaffolding around the north and west walls which directly abut the almost vertical sides of the mountain. Workers had to place a mounting platform against the rock 10 metres (33 feet) up and then erect additional pieces of scaffolding on top of this base platform. Crew members, material and machinery were taken to the dizzying heights of their workplace by two 500 Z/ZP transport platforms from GEDA, the Bavarian hoist manufacturer. This standard mobile solution is comprised of pre-assembled units that can be moved from one restoration site to another, and can quickly and easily be put together/dismantled by a two-man team. One transport platform led to the mounting platform; the other scaled the 38 metres (125 feet) of the castle’s tallest tower. “A benefit of loading platforms is that they’re open-air. This means they can also be used to transport bulky equipment,” said Johann Sailer, managing partner at GEDA. Each platform has a capacity of five people and 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds).
Being out in the open means the transport platforms are constantly exposed to wind and weather. Material and design must be resilient to all kinds of wear and tear. The same applies to the power supply and feedback cables. “We need cables with a long service life for our transport platforms. The 500 Z/ZP is a rack and pinion hoist. When it goes up, the cables for the electric motor dangle in the air and making them very exposed,” explains Sailer. This is why GEDA opted for HELUKABEL products: “Along with a large product assortment, we appreciate their high warehouse availability and short delivery times. Additionally, HELUKABEL manufactures the cables uniquely for us, so we can be 100 per cent sure of the quality,” says Sailer. In the meantime, the north and west walls are free of scaffolding and the transport platforms have been moved to other building sites.