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Penny Hydraulics chosen to lift Europe’s tallest chandelier!

Penny Hydraulics chosen to lift Europe’s tallest chandelier!


Lifting equipment manufacturer Penny Hydraulics Ltd, has been tasked with the design, manufacture and installation of a specialist chandelier winch system to mechanically lift and lower the tallest chandelier in Europe.

The lifting and lowering system for the huge luminaire at the four-star Hythe Imperial Hotel in Kent, will be used on an ongoing basis to lower the chandelier to ground level in the hotel’s atrium for routine maintenance, such as when the bulbs need to be changed or for cleaning.

The ground-breaking project certainly got Penny’s engineers cogs whirring: the system needed to safely handle the chandelier which was three storeys high, weighing more than the average family car! At 36ft tall, the chandelier took over 6 months to create and weighs a whopping 250kg. Featuring 25,000 crystals, the luminaire required more than 2,000kg of structural steel to support it from the ceiling.

Manufacturer of the chandelier Wilkinson Ltd, has held the Royal Warrant to Her Majesty The Queen as glass restorers since 1985, say the masterpiece is easily the biggest in Europe.

Owner of Wilkinson Ltd, David Wilkinson said: 'It is certainly the tallest chandelier we have manufactured and the tallest in the UK, and we cannot find any records of anything taller having been installed anywhere in Europe.’

The chandelier was the piece de resistance when it came to extensive works carried out at the hotel - bedrooms on three of the four floors were refurbished and significant work also took place on the fourth floor. The total cost of the refurbishment works totalled over £9M.

Nick Gauntlett, executive director at the Hythe Imperial, said: ‘Our new chandelier is a real centrepiece at the heart of the hotel…it will be a talking point for guests of the hotel for many years to come.’

It was necessary to introduce mechanical handling so that the chandelier could be lowered regularly, safely, quickly and easily to ground level for any works to the luminaire to be carried out. Having 40 years’ experience under their belt, Penny’s lighting winch division were selected to handle the lifting project.

Manufactured at Penny’s new £2M manufacturing plant in the UK, the innovative chandelier winch system is operated by a motorised which is connected to a twin rope electric system and spring-operated cable reel.

Ed Penny, General Manager of Penny’s Lighting Winch Division, said: ‘The new system provides a cost-effective and quick solution to accessing the 250kg chandelier on a regular basis and most importantly, adds a high level of safety for hotel guests and staff by ensuring that the suspended load has two means of support. Best of all, the need for operatives to work at height to access the luminaire is eliminated.’

One operative sited at ground level can now easily and quickly lower the chandeliers without the need to lift their feet off the ground. By enabling this, the new system helps the responsible parties at the hotel comply with best practice guidelines and fulfil their duty of care to those working in the building.

The system was tested and certificated to Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) regulations and being fully accredited to ISO9001, UVDB (Utilities Vendor Database) registered, Safe Contractor Approved, and with site engineers registered under the Construction Skills Certification Scheme, Penny Hydraulics ensured good working practices and relationships were established and maintained well beyond the lifespan of the project.

The Hythe Imperial hotel is the latest customer in an extensive line of prestigious venues worldwide to benefit from Penny’s lighting winch systems. Further venues include; the Royal Academy of Arts, Airbus, Royal Hospital Chelsea, London Palladium, Hilton Hotels, Tate Britain, and Novotel Hotels.

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