It would seem that 2013 is definitely a big year for new Popes. First the popular Argentinean, Francis I, took up the reins at the Vatican and now a new `Pope’, hailing from New Zealand, has taken up residence at Port Kembla.
"It got nicknamed the Pope Mobile, or more often just the Pope, because it has a big canopy on top - and the name just stuck," Rob Rossit, Coates Hire National Product Manager Access and Materials, explained as he talked about the new generation diesel-powered rough terrain scissor lift Coates Hire has produced specifically for use in the punishing environment of BlueScope Steel’s Port Kembla coke ovens.
"It’s coming up to 10 years since we delivered first Pope Mobile for BlueScope and that has been very successful, but it was time to bring in the new breed and retire the old Pope."
Still featuring the trademark canopy which protects operators working below live overhead power lines, the new Pope offers many improvements on the first unit including auto-stabilisers, fuel and hydraulic tank protection, hose and electrical wiring fireproofing, engine and hydraulic motor covers and also flashing beacon guards.
All of which are designed to protect the Pope Mobile while it supports the BlueScope staff who perform essential welding, repairs and maintenance in the hellish conditions encountered in the coke ovens at Port Kembla.
Two new electric scissor units have also been produced for BlueScope, also carrying the additional guarding needed to help all three access units withstand temperatures ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 degrees Celsius.
The result of another successful collaboration between Coates Hire and aerial work platform specialists Snorkel Australia, which built on the experience of co-creating the first Pope a decade ago, the three units were delivered to BlueScope in mid-May.
"The old Pope and his sidekicks had taken a bit of a punishing over the years, so the new units with their improved features are very welcome onsite," Rob Rossit said. "An answer to everyone’s prayers, you could say."
Picture: The "Old Pope"