Water Weights revolutionised the practice of load testing lifting equipment in the mid 1980s. It is estimated, it claims, that the use of this invention has saved the UK offshore industry in excess of £130 million over the last 27 years through reduced transport and storage costs. As well as cost savings, water bags have also brought significant advances in lifting equipment safety measures.

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Water bags weigh less than 2% of their achievable load making them easy to move into position for the test. As they are relatively light when empty, water bags also eliminate any problems with floor loading restrictions. Another advantage of using water as the test load is that it allows the load to be applied gradually and filling can be stopped immediately if a problem occurs.

The bags come fully rigged and ready to hang and can be filled or emptied in a controlled manner through the use of a certified loadcell or flowmeter.

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The water bags are certified in accordance with UK Health and Safety Executive requirements. The bags have a physically proven factor of safety in excess of 6:1 and are proof load tested to over 2:1 prior to being taken into service.

They are used by numerous industries for many different applications such as the testing of cranes, davits, derricks, winches, ramps, lifts, beams, gantries and elevators. A wide range of different sizes are available and bags can be hung in combinations to achieve large loads.

In the majority of countries, proof load testing of lifting equipment is a statutory requirement and Water Weights has established many international licensing agreements and alliances over the years.

It is actively growing the business in Europe, for example. During July 2007 Hamburg-based company VFR became the first Water Weights representative in Germany. VFR is already familiar with Water Weights products and services, and is ideally located to serve the shipyards of northern Germany and further afield.

Meanwhile, the French and Spanish markets are also being actively pursued via the Water Weights Europe team based in the Netherlands.

It now operates depots in the UK, Europe and across the United States.

Water Weights is constantly looking at new ways of testing and has recently introduced a new style of water bag into the fleet. The new bags are 16t flexitainers which are fully enclosed water bags usually used to load test structures such as buildings, bridges and ramps.

The new bag has been designed with testing passenger walkways in mind, although other applications are also possible. The dimensions are 8m long by 2m wide by 1m high. Any larger and the bags would be too difficult to handle, it says.

The first test using the new flexitainers took place successfully on a passenger boarding walkway at the Mayflower Cruise Terminal in Southampton in May 2007.

Water Weights can supply complete lifting equipment load testing and inspection services depending on client requirements.

Visit them at LiftEx stand 9.

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