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Project Examples

Catastrophic Failure

Cause: Human Error

$100,000 approximate damage in less than 10 seconds due to operator error

The lift was inoperable for some unknown reason. The client brought in a local electrician to attempt repair. This individual did not have sufficient knowledge about the lift equipment and made the erroneous decision to operate the lift manually. This inadvertently disabled all safety control features that eliminated the lift stop points.

With the stop points eliminated, the lift frame collided with the bottom of the pit. This collision simultaneously took the weight off the Spiralifts and they continued to travel downward. This caused the horizontal and vertical bands of the Spiralifts to disengage.

Recognizing the mistake, the electrician quickly attempted to reverse the action and bring the lift back up. The damage was already done to the one downstage Spiralift and it was now inoperable. However, the two upstage Spiralifts did begin to rise. As they continued to travel upward, the lift frame began to tilt. Seeing this had further compounded the problem, the electrician made an attempt to stop the lift completely. Unfortunately, the contacts in the contactor had welded together and the lift would not stop. As a last resort, the electrician disconnected the main shut off and stopped the lift.

As a result, all three Spiralifts and guide shoes were extensively damaged. There was also a seat wagon that was loaded on the lift. As the lift frame tilted, the seat wagon slid forward, it peeled tiles off the basement floor and embedded into the under auditorium level wall. This caused damage to the seat wagon, the basement floor as well as considerable damage to the wall. Overall, it was a costly accident that could have been avoided.

Evaluation and Repair:

  • Received the call and photos mid-morning on day of accident.
  • Determined the urgency of the repair with the client’s schedule as an event was scheduled in five days.
  • Identified and organized what components and equipment was required to execute the repair
  • Identified what preliminary work could be performed by the client’s crew immediately
  • Ordered replacement parts from the manufacturer
  • Manufacturer compiled parts into a box weighing 2500 pounds and shipped overnight to venue
  • Works Global arrived the day after the accident, assessed situation, took inventory of parts and equipment and implemented a plan of action
  • Seat Wagon had to be extracted from the auditorium wall
  • Jack and shore up the lift frame
  • Disassembled and removed damaged Spiralift components
  • Re-built the Spiralifts with new components
  • Built a temporary guide shoes pending delivery of new ones
  • Replaced contactors and repaired control system and returned lift to operational status

Seat Wagon Design, Manufacture and Installation

The original seat wagon was designed and manufactured using air casters for movement. The client was not satisfied with the air casters. Movement of the seat wagon was not as efficient as it had been purported to be. To move the seat wagon on or off the lift could take from 45 – 90 minutes with a crew of four.

Works Global was tasked to design and manufacture a new seat wagon that utilized V-groove rollers riding on tracks. Plans were drawn up and a proposal submitted to the client. Works Global was awarded the contract. It was manufactured in our facility, shipped in pieces to the venue and installed by Works Global upon arrival. The new seat wagon now takes a crew of three only 10 minutes to move it on or off the lift.

  • Loading Seat Wagon on Lift
  • Seat Wagon at Auditorium Level
  • Seat Wagon at Storage Level
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Control System Reconstruction (On-site)

Old System:

This existing Control System had multiple components altered or replaced over time by sources unknown to Works Global. There had been no documentation to identify what had been changed or why, wiring was not labeled and it was difficult to determine where they originated from or connected to. The work had been performed in a highly disorganized manner. One such remedy included the use of telephone wire to add a diagnostic feature. The existing digital display on the diagnostic system appeared to never have worked properly from original installation, nor ever been corrected. Eventually, the lift would not operate.

Reconstructed System:

  • Kept major components and replaced all relays
  • Switched out 24 volt AC relays for 24 volt DC relays
  • Changed location and installed new style terminal blocks
  • Traced all wires, pulled new wires where needed, labeled and documented information
  • Installed pilot lamp diagnostic panel, breakers, fuse blocks, three phase monitor
  • Removed analog positioning system and replaced with digital positioning system
  • Developed new schematics and a User Manual to reflect the current components, wiring, PLC Program, etc.


  • Original Control Panel
  • Reconstructed Control Panel
  • Close up details BEFORE reconstruction
  • Close up details AFTER reconstruction
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Control System Replacement

Original Control System:

This control system was 20+ years old using relay logic without any diagnostic capabilities and limited safety features. The peripheral wiring on the right side of the control box was disorganized without labels. This created an inability to properly diagnose problem areas. The objective for Works Global was to design, construct and install a new control system that was PLC based. This would allow diagnostics to be incorporated and it greatly improved the overall safety of the entire system.

New Control System:

  • Designed a new PLC based system
  • Designed a new hand-held controller with onboard diagnostic capabilities. This device would allow the user immediate access to diagnostics as opposed to having to view them on a fixed display panel located elsewhere
  • Created schematics of the new design and developed a User Manuals for the new control system
  • Sourced parts and constructed the new control system and hand-held controller at the Works Global facility
  • Transported the system to the venue and completed installation
  • Finalized the documentation to reflect as-built conditions

  • Original Main Control System Panel
  • New Main Control System Panel
  • Example of an Original Hand-held Controller
  • New Hand-held Controller
  • New Hand-held Driver
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