Skyriders ropes in new business through market-leading innovation

14 April 2011
The sky is the limit for local rope access company, Skyriders, which has become a preferred supplier of innovative height-related solutions to numerous industries worldwide.
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Leading rope access specialist, Skyriders has earned a reputation of being South Africa’s premier provider of expert rope access aided inspection, non-destructive testing (NDT) and high-elevation maintenance solutions to a number of applications.

Skyriders marketing manager Mike Zinn points out that the company prides itself on thinking ‘out-of-the-box’.“Our specialist team of highly-trained rope access technicians are capable of working at height without the need for scaffolding on certain applications where manoeuvrability is restricted. What’s more, Skyriders rope access technicians are trained in various fields of expertise, including; NDT and inspections, as well as concrete, civils and corrosion protection; thereby, providing a comprehensive all-in-one solutions package,” he explains.

Zinn notes that Skyriders boasts a zero-fatality record, despite the dangerous environments in which the company operates on a daily basis. He attributes this success to the experience and training of the Skyriders team, coupled with the reliability of the rope access methods, which comply with stringent international safety standards.

“Skyriders complies with SANS 10333 1/2/3 safety standards, and various Institute for Work at Height (IWH) standards. In addition, the company is currently in the process of obtaining internationally-recognised ISO 9000 certification,” Zinn explains. “Our rope access technicians are the best in the business, and have undergone intensive training and gained extensive experience in the power generation, industrial, construction and mining sectors.”

Having started from humble beginnings in 1988 as a high-rise window cleaning operation, Skyriders is today one of the oldest and most trusted South African rope access companies that provides solutions to numerous above-ground challenges, including; structural installations and inspections, high-pressure cleaning, waterproofing, birdproofing, welding, concrete repairs and non-destructive testing.

“About 30 per cent of the company’s work involves commercial rope access applications, such as painting, window cleaning and general construction. The rest of the work involves challenging projects in the power generation, industrial and mining sectors, which is another unique aspect that puts Skyriders at the forefront of the industry,” explains Zinn.

He points out that rope access is a safer and more cost-effective alternative to scaffolding in a number of applications, especially on structures at power generation and industrial sites, including; smoke stacks, cooling towers and boilers. “Rope access applies practical rope work to enable workers to access difficult-to-reach locations, without the use of costly and time-consuming scaffolding, cradles or mobile-elevated work platforms. Suspended in their secure position, workers are able to carry out numerous tasks relating to inspection, maintenance and surveying.”



What’s more, Zinn highlights the fact that an increased amount of detailed work can be undertaken. “Rope access technicians have the capability to descend, ascend and traverse ropes for access and work, while being suspended by a harness, which eliminates the risk of a fall. In the unlikely failure of their primary means of support, rope access workers can make use of a back-up fall arrest system, which is achieved by using two ropes - a working line and a safety line.”

Over the years, Skyriders has become recognised as a specialist in undertaking various NDT inspection and maintenance-related tasks for the South African power generation sector. Zinn points out that the company has a permanent rope access team based at a major fire-powered coal station in Mpumalanga.

“The Skyriders permanent rope access team at the power station is responsible for undertaking all inspection and maintenance tasks that are located high above the ground. Traditionally, access to a boiler and numerous other areas of a power station are severely-restricted; however, the Skyriders team is able to gain access and carry out essential inspection and maintenance work,” he says.

What’s more, Zinn notes that the rope access team forms part of a dedicated maintenance team, which also consists of a scaffolding company, a plant care engineering firm and inspectors, who are on call 24/7, ultimately achieving significant savings related to downtime. “This makes a considerable difference to the operation when there is a shut-down, as the units can be brought back to service a lot quicker.”

Skyriders managing director Kaolin Woods notes that the company trains all its rope access technicians at its in-house training division, Height Wise Training Academy, which provides high-quality training and assessment for Nation Qualifications Framework (NFQ) accredited and customised courses in height safety. She points out that the company recently launched its newly-upgraded training facility. “Having achieved unprecedented success over the past few years, Skyriders will be looking to consolidate on that success by further developing the skills of its workforce at all levels of the enterprise.”

Woods notes that increased skills development has seen Skyriders expand rapidly across industries. “Skyriders was initially established as a high-rise window cleaning operation, before expanding into the power generation industry. Over the past five years, Skyriders has become an established name in the construction, mining and petrochemical industries too, which is testament to the company’s dedication and commitment to skills development,” she continues.

To date, Skyriders has been involved in a number of unique and challenging projects, including; the extension of a chimney stack at a gold mine in Mali - from 75 m to 100 m, as well as the conversion of  the iconic Orlando cooling towers in Soweto into an adrenaline-pumping bungee and abseiling site.

“The Skyriders rope access team was responsible for setting up a bridge 100 m above the ground, between the two towers, in order to serve as a means of access to the bungee facility. Skyriders is the only company in South Africa that has ever built a suspension bridge between two towers,” explains Zinn.

Skyriders employs more than 30 people at its established business units in Mpumalanga and Gauteng. In addition to providing at-height solutions to local industries, Skyriders also services international clients in Indonesia, Korea, Dubai and the African continent.


Notes to the Editor
There are numerous photographs specific to this press release. Please visit and click the Skyriders link.

About Skyriders
Skyriders (Pty) Ltd, established in 1988, is a leader in the South African rope access industry, providing cost- and time-saving solutions to clients in the power generation and petrochemical industries who require rope access aided inspection, NDT and maintenance work to be done in difficult to reach, high-up locations. 

Skyriders Contact
Mike Zinn
Skyriders Marketing Manager
Phone: (011) 312 1418
Cell: 083 289 0077
Email: mike [at] skysolutions [dot] co [dot] za

Media Contact
Renay Tandy
NGAGE Public Relations
Phone: (011) 867-7763
Fax: 086 512 3352
Cell: 082 562 5088
Email: renay [at] ngage [dot] co [dot] za

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