Carrier rises to the challenge to deliver 1MW of new chillers to the Hilton Metropole by helicopter
Carrier Air Conditioning, a division of Toshiba Carrier UK Limited, enlisted the skills of a Swiss helicopter lifting specialist to deliver two new state-of-the-art chillers onto the roof-top of the Metropole Hilton in central London.
The air conditioning supplier had originally planned to use a heavy duty crane to remove the two existing R22-based chillers and replace them new high efficiency Carrier Aquasnap heat pump units, with a combined cooling capacity of just over 1MW.
Following months of planning, however, objections were raised by transport authorities due to concerns about the size of crane required and the load bearing limits on the road, which passes over London Underground’s Central Line.
The initial plan would also have required the closure of Edgware Road, a main red route into the heart of London, which would have taken months to arrange.
With the clock ticking on the final phase out of R22 at the end of last year, Carrier contracted Helirig and their Swiss helicopter partners lift the old plant from the hotel’s roof-top and position the new chillers in place.
The operation was carried out by a Super Puma heavy-lift helicopter, which had flown from its base in Switzerland to carry out another operation in London. Carrier moved quickly to ensure the necessary permissions were in place, in order to take advantage of its availability to complete the installation at the Hilton Metropole.
Trevor Gransden, Carrier senior project engineer, said: “Helicopter lifts are complex operations, as several authorities have to be consulted and the detailed risk assessment must obviously eliminate any danger to employees and the public.
“Normally, such projects can take weeks to organise. However, in this case we had just six days to complete the site surveys and risk assessments, obtain permission from the Civil Aviation Authority, and consult with the Metropolitan Police and Diplomatic Protection Services. Helirig’s expertise and speed of response helped us complete all the paperwork within this short timescale and deliver a successful result for the client.”
As the existing chillers weighed some 5.8 tons each, exceeding the helicopter’s load-lifting limits, they had to be split into two. It therefore took four lifts to remove the decommissioned plant from the roof-top, while the new chillers, more compact and lighter than the ones they replaced, were lifted into position in just two lifts.
With the items of plant pre-slung and ready to go, the six lifts took just 11 minutes to complete. As a result, the entire chiller replacement project was delivered in days rather than weeks, with no disruption to traffic.
Les Cordery, Facilities Manager at Hilton Metropole Hotel, said: “I am delighted at the speed and professionalism with which Carrier carried out the installation, and with no disruption to traffic or our surrounding residents.
“We had been prepared for the project to take many months, since closing part of Edgware Road to traffic in the run-up to Christmas isn’t an easy thing to achieve. However, the helicopter lift provided a perfect solution and a timely result for the hotel.”