A large portion of my Sunday morning was spent at the studio changing the attachment points for the hammocks from double point to single point so we could launch our new hammock program. And I have to say, wow is our aerial structure awesome. I knew when I worked with mechanical and structural engineers to design it to my specifications it was going to be super cool, but it’s the absolute saftey built in that really make it special. When I was moving the plates for apparatus I was reminded how absolutely awesome the engineering is.
Next time you’re in the aerial studio, look up. It’s so shiny and pretty! But more importantly that plate that your apparatus is attached to is OSHA approved to hang humans and have a dynamic load (like drops in an aerial hammock and swinging). Each plate costs $176.16 (just the plate, not all the hardware). And each plate weighs 27 pounds. They are HEAVY.
Each plate is attached with 4 sets of a grade three bolt, two washers, a lock washer, a beam spacer and a beam clamp. This is what is so cool! To move the plates, I loosen the bolts. All four bolts! And the plate doesn’t fall. At no point did I drop the heavy plate on mine or my father’s head (he was holding my ladder). The way the plates were engineered, you have to actually loosen all four bolts and then take two on the same side out to remove the plate. If you don’t remove two beam clamps completely, the plate won’t come down.
Look at this picture, I’m sticking my entire finger between the plate and the beam and the plate is still holding strong. The way these were engineered you have to work super hard to remove them. This gives me such peace of mind that my students will be safe. If one bolt broke, no big deal, we’d know and replace it, and the plate isn’t going anywhere. So our attachment points are pretty much indestructible.
Because I am neurotic about saftey, I after changing over the studio I did a second pass and tightened every bolt with a torch impact driver, just to be extra sure. Everything is tight and secure.
It may seem silly to be writing a post about steel plates. But to me, this is what makes Aerial Dance the safest studio in the country. We spared no expense when creating the structure. There were multiple cheaper options. MUCH cheaper. And boy when I write the check for the aerial structure loan every month do I wonder if I should have gone that route. But I didn’t. I chose the OSHA version because it was the safest. I keep a saftey maintenance log any time I check the gear. I love my studio because is is beautiful, functional, and as safe as the aerial arts can possibly be.
And in case you were wondering….moving around 27 pound steel plates while standing on the highest step of a ladder isn’t fun. Makes me wish I was taller! Yes, they are brilliantly engineered but super difficult to work with and move. If you see me today, don’t punch my right shoulder….