IDS Tower

IDS Tower’s three decades of service from Manntech Facade Access Systems

IDS Tower, also known as IDS Center, was completed back in 1973 and remains the tallest building in Minneapolis at 241.4 metres (792 feet) and 55 floors.

Unfortunately, the original Building Maintenance Unit (BMU) installed on this building by another provider was quickly revealed unfit for purpose. The machine itself was obtrusive in its large size and overcomplicated in its operational functionality. The building management experienced breakdowns and a frequent need for maintenance and repair work.

In 1981, the property management decided to replace the underperforming system with a custom facade access system, operating back then under the Mannesmann brand.

The replacement BMU design utilised the existing concrete runway and a roof car travelling around the perimeter on rubber tires. Its performance represented a strong contrast with the original machine. For the first time, the Building Maintenance Unit could be counted on to operate all year reliably, even through cold Minneapolis winter weather conditions. A testament to the high quality manufacturing of Manntech’s German-engineered facade access systems.

A further change was required to the building in the early 90s when water leakage under the concrete runway had to be addressed to avoid structural damage. The initial plan was to strip out the runway to carry out repairs and then reinstall, representing a significant undertaking with no guarantee that the same leakage issue would not reoccur in the future.

Manntech presented a solution to run a roof membrane over the existing runway to offer enhanced waterproofing. The facade access system was converted to a freely laid rail track with relevant modifications to the roof car base. This achieved a better long-term outcome with a fraction of the work and disruption. With appropriate maintenance and upgrades, the building maintenance system remains in place and is still operating well in 2021.

Perhaps the most significant vote of confidence in any product is a repeat customer. In 2013 it was deemed that a second BMU on the building may be beneficial to a large curtain wall restoration project that was being planned. With the reliability of the old Mannesmann machine, along with their experience with support of it by Manntech, the client approached Manntech directly for a solution to their additional facade access needs. In 2015, running on the same existing track as the older BMU, a second Manntech BMU was installed. With multiple contractors needing ongoing access to the facade, often on a high usage basis, both BMUs run reliably, and often simultaneously, to this day.

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