Aluminium Scaffolding: What are the Pros and Cons?

December 13, 2018

The first advantage is an in-your-face benefit that's known by pretty much every erection professional. Even an average painting contractor is familiar with the ins-and-outs of this particular alloy benefit. Principally, aluminium is light. The tubular sections won't break a tired worker's back, so the gear assembles quickly. But we're not here to write about glaringly obvious advantages. Instead, let's compile a nice, tidy pros and cons table.

A Superior Strength-To-Weight Ratio

Adding detail to that opening statement, not only are the scaffolding elements lighter than average, they're also stronger, more rigid than anyone could ever guess. The parts are easy to carry, easy to transport, and just as easy to assemble. They'll come together so that a tall tower erects in no time at all. Moreover, though, the tower will be stable and capable of supporting large load factors after it's erected.

Naturally Corrosion Resistant

There are few metal frameworks that are designed to function outdoors. Even a top-flight stainless steel superstructure ends up covered in concrete or steel and glass. Not so with aluminium scaffolding, which lies exposed to the vagaries of the weather. Rain and briny atmospheres impact exposed alloys, but aluminium scaffolding doesn't suffer, because it's coated in a naturally occurring aluminium oxide film. Take note, corrosion resistance is not the same as corrosion proof, but a standard set of aluminium scaffolding should still fight off the effects of the weather with relative ease. Inspect the staging for signs of scratching, which could damage the oxide film.

A Swingstage and Suspended Asset Champion

That's right, we're swinging back to the lightweight design. After all, there are different types of scaffolding occupying different worksites, so this feature is going to pop up again and again. Essentially, swingstage and suspended systems use ropes and chains to guarantee a safely hoisted load. If the platforms and rails are made of steel, then the structure can't get by on thin ropes and chains. To overcome this issue, lighter platforms, those that utilize aluminium elements, allow erection professionals to use lighter ropes and slender chain lengths.

The portability feature mentioned at the start of this article is always going to steal attention from the pros listed above. Meanwhile, for the cons side of the table, there are a few points to remember. First off, heavier alloys come with higher load carrying capacities. That's an important feature, but some aluminium series' feature almost as much rigidity as ferrous-heavy alloys. Then, remember that load-bearing matters also interact with staging height issues. As the staging climbs higher, its own weight begins to impact its stability. With this in mind, aluminium scaffolding is best suited for use in projects that stick to lower heights.

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