Power Plant Smokestacks Maintenance

Case Study:

How to Inspect and Repair Two 240-foot Smokestacks During a Blustery Fall in Just 10 Days

What was the challenge?

To help feed the Big Apple with electricity, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) operates the 500-MW Astoria combined-cycle plant overlooking the East River in New York. The plant features twin 240-foot-tall stacks that are visible from Manhattan and other boroughs. The power plant is located in Queens, where land is at a premium. Its footprint is compact at just seven acres with a very narrow gate. Pipes and gas storage tanks surround the tight alley between the structures.

  • It was widely assumed that a boom truck could not get in nor operate in this constricted space. The plant area is so small that even the stacks were built together with a tiny gap between them to save space.
  • Geographically, the plant sits in the open plain next to the East River and Harlem River, exposed to gusty winds. A boom swaying in the wind could damage the smokestacks, piping, and threaten the working crew’s safety. JLG lifts are not capable of a 250-foot reach.
  • The NYPA Astoria engaged Alpha Platforms for a 10-day project, including inspection, maintenance, and repairs – such as welding – of its two smokestacks.

What was the solution?

In order to reach the top and maneuver around the smokestacks, Alpha Platforms dispatched its A-250 boom lift.
The working envelope of the A-250 enabled a reach of up to 250-feet high, around, and between the smokestacks. Alpha’s cage swiveling capabilities of almost 360 degrees at the end of the 60-foot jib boom provided accessibility to every position on the structures.
The telescopic Palfinger boom lifts mounted on Kenworth chassis are custom-engineered to withstand constant 36-mph winds at maximum height and up to 50 mph gusts, making them a go-to height access method in windy areas. At 80% of its height, the boom can withstand much stronger winds and gusts.
Squeezing our 8-foot, 6-inch-wide, 45 foot-long truck into the narrow gate and parking space would be an impossibility were it not for our IPAF-certified and experienced lift operator. The gap to access the alley between the gate and the truck was merely one inch.
Space inside the plant was just as tight, prompting the operator to set up each outrigger individually. He set them carefully, just inches away and around all ground-based structures, maximizing lift stability and reach despite such a tiny driveway.
The specs of our state-of-the-art A-250 lift:

What was the outcome?

The Outcome During the 10-day project, our full-time operator lifted the workers to inspect, paint, and weld the metal structures. Our 12-foot cage seamlessly lifted up to 1,320 lbs., accommodating welding equipment, materials, and three to four people. In addition, the cage offered all the necessary outlets to enable welding and other jobs at height.

Despite gusty winds at over 200 feet, the client crew felt safe and steady due to the amazingly sturdy, wide, and robust boom holding the basket in its position.

The ability to work during windy weather helped the client’s crew complete inspection and repairs on time and on budget.

Our precise German-made lifts have become the height access method of choice for those who try them, as they combine unmatched productivity, safety, and reach.
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Notable 250 Foot Boom Lift Capabilities
  • 12-foot extra large cage
  • 1,322 lbs lifting capacity for crew, equipment, and materials
  • Cage rotation 2 x 200°
  • Side reach up to 130 feet
  • Unique "under and up" or "up and over and back" access
  • Smooth controlled motions to move close to and around glass and fragile structures
  • Jib length 49’2’’
  • Parking in tight spaces 8’3’’ wide

Alpha Platforms has helped hundreds of teams like yours

Customer Testimonials
from Case Studies

Carlos Honorio Jr.
Honorio Designs

Great experience! First time on the 300 foot boom for a Local Law Facade Inspection. Vadim, the operator, was in complete control of the equipment and made the whole process smooth. Flagmen secured the area below and allowed my Client to operate their hotel without any disturbance. Honorio Designs Architecture, PLLC

Brian Rosado Hernández
The Telecom Company Foreman

Excellent service, arriving on time every day, responsible with the load limit, very attentive to the lubrication and controls of the crane.

Thomas Inciarte
Telecom Company Representative

Excellent team working with us, always willing to do anything for the best

The Signage Company Owner

It was a pleasure to work with Alpha Platforms, the crew was skilled and helpful, the equipment was top-notch. Our installers appreciated the security of the platform vs working off of a swing stage, it made their job easier and more efficient. From the first meeting thru to the end of the work day everything ran as smoothly as it could. We will definitely be partnering with Alpha Platforms on future projects. Thank you for your help!

Ryan Hughes

I had an emergency project on a 140' high voltage tower and needed Alpha Platforms next day. They were so helpful and expedient walking me through the entire process so I was comfortable with the deal. They showed up to my site next day and cut about 2 days off of the project due to the safety, speed and efficiency of their lift and operators. I'll never rent or hire another lift company. I would recommend Alpha platforms for all your high reach needs.

Liz Jones

Jon told me that it was a pleasure to work with Alpha Platforms, the crew was skilled and helpful, the equipment was top notch. Our installers appreciated the security of the platform vs working off of a swing stage, it made their job easier and more efficient. From first meeting thru to the end of the work day everything ran as smoothly as it could. City Sign Service, Inc. will definitely be partnering with Alpha Platforms on future projects.

Justin N.

That is a fine piece of equipment! And the competent, professional group that goes along with it is just the cherry on top. I really appreciate everything. I'm sure we'll be able to use Alpha again in the future as we get these opportunities. In fact, it will only help our business knowing we have a safe, reliable solution to these over 50‘ height challenges.

Byron Nivelo

We had an exceptional experience with Alpha! They are professionals, great operator team. Overall reliable, recommended will certainly return for my future needs hands down.

Nick Muhlon

My company used alpha lifts to clean a 14 floor building and they were great. Very accommodating, always on time, and will work with you to get the job done safe and sound. The lifts they provide are state of the art and can pretty much reach any low rise building under 250 feet. I’d recommend them to anyone doing window cleaning or facade cleaning, or anything king of height access work!

Mike P.
Building restoration services family business owner

We wanted to give it a try and see what this boom truck could do. We loved the idea of a wide basket that could reach up to 30 feet and get to the brick wall over the roof. The main reason we loved the truck was how it maneuvered the boom to lower the bricks inside a dumpster, which was located behind the truck. It saved us at least one extra day of work. It all went great.

Jason A.
Director of operations, family-owned regional electrical services provider

Alpha has the most efficient and leanest site setup time I’ve ever seen. My brother, who is the top climber of our group, first struggled to understand how this cage could go around the tower better than the crane - and when it did the whole 360°, he became a believer. Also, each laborer said how incredibly safe they felt - very different from the small crane basket. We were able to secure and push back the panels in place without the basket ever moving.

Joseph A.
Head stone mason, national cathedral

The project was performed successfully, and we were really glad to have contactless means of reaching the building, as we all know that pipe scaffold might damage the structure, in this case, very very sensitive.

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