Skyjack Scissor Lifts Go Underground in Canada

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Two Skyjack SJIII 3219 electric scissor lifts are working at the deepest clean laboratory in the world. At Vale Creighton Mine in Sudbury, Ontario, scientists perform experiments on dark matter, neutrinos, low-background counting and genomics. The SNOLAB laboratory is 1.24 miles (2 km) underground in order to prevent cosmic radiation from reaching the labs. For the last three years, the scissor lifts have helped construct new specialized experiment sites; construction is expected to continue through 2017.

Getting the machines down to the SNOLAB was a difficult process. Beyond transportation, the environment must also be extremely clean to conduct the experiments.

Although one of the Skyjack scissors was new, both machines had to be completely scrubbed down before they were brought underground. When they arrived on site, the machines had to be transported through the 2-km drift by stone-boat, which is a large piece of steel the machines were pulled on. Once the Skyjacks arrived at the lab, they had to be scrubbed down again to remove any dust.

North Rock Rentals’ mechanics provide yearly checkups on the SJIII 3219s to ensure they continue to work and don’t have to repeat the trip back up and down the mine. They also have to be clean-room approved, which includes showering before entering the lab. In addition, the mechanics are also required to have special mine safety training to visit SNOLAB.

North Rock Rentals notes that aerial lifts typically working underground have a shortened life expectancy, but because of the pristine environment of SNOLAB, the scissor lifts are still in great condition.