As far as unusual removal jobs go Daltons Wadkin’s recent task of extracting a 3½ ton woodworking machine through the roof of a 2-storey office block in Sheffield was about as bizarre as it gets!
The machine, a Wadkin WX Pattern Miller, was required for an export sales opportunity in Zimbabwe but in order to obtain the machine Daltons Wadkin engineers had to find a way of removing it from the offices of a foundry in Sheffield where it had been ‘entombed’ at the end of a first floor landing for many years.
Francis and Alex Dalton’s first siting of the machine was through a small hole in the wall at the end of a corridor.
It was in total darkness, there were literally inches of space around it and it seems that upon the abandonment of the pattern shop many years ago the contractors who adapted the building for office use thought it easier to leave the machine where it was than to move it.
Hence walls were erected all round it and a roof over the top and it never saw the light of day again until ‘exhumed’ following the sale to Daltons Wadkin.
Building contractors first had to be called in to remove the walling and dig out the rails from the floor on which the machine table travelled (these actually ran into a director’s office!) and then arrangements made to remove the roof in order that the machine could be lifted.
Francis Dalton commented “I do not think we have ever had a job like this before. We had to arrange closure of the road through the local council, traffic management and the hire of an enormous crane to lift the machine through the roof and down onto our waiting lorry. I am glad to say that everything seemed to go smoothly on the day, no-one got hurt and the machine emerged unscathed.”
The machine will soon be on its way to the African continent but Daltons Wadkin who are well used to removing, handling and transporting heavy machinery are not likely to be involved in such a complex and delicate manoeuvre again … or are they?