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.
Play video
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

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.

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.

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.

Have a tough height
access project
need help with?
Thank you!
We received
your request
Our Team will be in touch
as soon as possible