Building Maintenance Units

How Manntech’s innovative culture delivers custom solutions for unique facade access challenges

As the longest established facade access solution provider in the industry, Manntech have become well known as the innovator behind high quality, German engineered building maintenance units. Over a history stretching more than 60 years, Manntech’s expert designers and engineers have pioneered many new approaches and technologies in response to specific facade access challenges presented by the tallest and most complex structures of the day. These innovations have often been imitated by the wider industry and have eventually become common features of many building maintenance units.

The vision and imagination of the boldest architects, combined with advances in construction technology, however, means that new buildings are consistently pushing the boundaries of what has previously been thought possible, both in terms of record breaking heights and the complexity of architectural forms which are achievable. In this context, Manntech remain committed to the culture of constant innovation and development which is required to design and engineer custom building maintenance units capable of meeting the unique facade access needs of new and unprecedented construction projects all over the world.

Among the iconic structures which rely on Manntech’s custom building maintenance units is Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The tallest building in the world at the time of construction, it retained the title for six years and remains the tallest twin tower structure anywhere in the world. Among a range of custom built facade access systems which Manntech developed to meet the demands of this unparalleled project, Manntech became the first facade access provider to utilise a softrope restraint system on a highrise structure. This allowed for the cradle to safely and securely travel horizontally across the face of the facade surface.

Never content to rest on their existing achievements and innovations, Manntech have continually refined and reimagined their own designs, including the softrope system, to meet the unique facade access needs presented by new buildings which are achieving ever greater heights and architectural complexity. The endlessly twisting, double helix structure of Evolution Tower in Moscow meant that the facade could not be accessed by a standard building maintenance unit performing conventional vertical drops from roof level. Among a range of project-specific innovations, Manntech further developed the capabilities of their own softrope systems in order to deliver a tailored solution with multiple carefully calculated anchoring points across the positive and negative curves of the facade surface. This allows the cradle to safely and securely traverse horizontally and navigate the complex building geography while also providing numerous secure tethering points for the multiple drops which were necessary for comprehensive facade coverage.

Manntech’s designers and engineers are also responsible for a number of other innovations in building maintenance unit technology. Another ground breaking facade access system was the world’s first 3D climbing building maintenance units. This was specifically developed to effectively navigate the complexities of Shanghai Tower’s intricate and irregular curving roof perimeter, which is also set on a steep incline. The revolutionary building maintenance unit is capable of changing both climbing angle and direction of travel at the same point on the track to navigate every twist, turn, incline and decline. This innovation in building maintenance unit technology has already proven itself to be a significant step forward for the wider industry, with a customised version having been deployed by Manntech at Menara Astra in Jakarta. After the developers became concerned about the system put forward by the original facade access solution provider, Manntech were called in to adapt and improve on the existing design, including the addition of two 3D climbing BMUs with all the capabilities of the Shanghai Tower units, adapted to navigate the particular curves and slopes of another unique structure.

Manntech’s problem-solving expertise in design, engineering and manufacturing has allowed them to develop custom solutions which rise to the facade access challenges presented by increasingly bold and audacious skyscraper construction projects, and continue driving the entire facade access industry forward.