Stefano Panseri
Despe S.p.A., Milan

In high-rise construction we all have the same goals: Improve the safety standards of workers, eliminate the potential risk of falling objects, accelerate construction operations, keep cranes free to perform core tasks, create more work space and provide safe and easy access to the building envelope.

To achieve this, the Self Climbing Kokoon (SCK) is an innovative system that replaces the old scaffolding and protects the perimeters of high buildings. It climbs floor-to-floor, using an automated system that creates access points and corridors that are safe for the entire workforce and every type of procedure. SCK was conceived and designed to keep workers safe and prevent objects falling from the structure.

SCK is a 900-ton steel-mesh “cocoon” that hydraulically crawls up the sides of the building as workers erect structural steel around the tower’s concrete core. Once several floors of steel are in place, the SCK retracts its walkways, activates its hydraulic cylinders and jacks itself up to the next tier. Suspended from the building’s columns and driven by its own onboard generator, the SCK can travel between floors without the aid of a crane or the need to stop work on the site.

The SCK is run from a control cab that is fastened onto the side, with an internet link back to engineers in Italy to monitor operations. There are more than 1,000 sensors on the machine, monitoring over 220 hydraulic jacks. The SCK can perform a double-floor jump in just in three hours. A team of three technicians can oversee the entire jacking operation. The SCK thus guarantees the highest level of protection available on the market.