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The Show Goes On As MasterMover Provide Retractable Seating Mover For O2 Dublin

The O2 Dublin, Ireland’s largest indoor arena, is expecting a return on investment within 16 months after choosing electric tugs from MasterMover for the efficient manoeuvring of retractable seating rigs.

On the recommendation of Ireland’s leading lifting equipment distributor, Prolift Handling, the venue is using two MasterTugs to prepare seating for each event. The solution has reduced the manpower required to arrange the seating from eight to three per turnaround, and MasterMover has already received significant praise for its ability to lighten the load.

The arena’s retractable seating rigs, some of which weigh up to 11 tonnes, are stored underneath the main balconies, and are manoeuvred into place whenever auditorium seating is needed. However, the task of negotiating the heavy and cumbersome apparatus into place prior to performances had become a considerable challenge for the arena’s logistics team.

“With such a wide variety of performances, concerts and events taking place at The O2 Dublin, the need for audience seating can change, almost on a ‘per-event’ basis,” explains David McElhinney of Prolift Handling.

“This means seating regularly has to be brought out from under the balconies and into the auditorium, arranged appropriately, then stored away again – a procedure which is physical, time-consuming and carries health and safety risks.”

Prior to The O2 Dublin’s investment in electric tugs, the venue deployed a combination of manpower and ‘air skates’ (which carry the seating on a base injected with compressed air) to manoeuver the retractable seating rigs into place. Eight people were needed to help move, guide and position the rigs, which took both time and considerable effort.

“The arena needed a better solution, one that would work in conjunction with the existing ‘air skates’ but would reduce the risk and exertion involved. Here’s where MasterMover electric tugs fit the bill perfectly,” confirms David McElhinney.

The MasterTug operates on the principle of using weight transfer to generate traction, which enables a single pedestrian operator to manoeuvre loads with ease and control, even within environments that require transportation beyond the smooth factory floor.

Prolift recommended a solution that utilises two MasterTugs to push and pull each seating rig, with a third member of The O2’s staff on hand to provide supporting control by guiding the air skates. By doing so, the arena’s logistics team could then guide the seating rigs with much less physical exertion than if they were using manpower alone.

With only a single operator required to move each MasterTug, three people can prepare the auditorium proficiently and safely, no matter what type of show is being staged.”

Investing in MasterTugs has without doubt streamlined operations at The O2 Dublin yet, as MasterMover managing director Andy Owen points out, time isn’t the only saving that has been projected.

“Financially, the arena should benefit from significant cost reductions. By using the MasterTugs, up to 30 man hours can be saved per turnaround, which should cover the expenditure of the vehicles in approximately 16 months.

“Combined with the advantages in operational efficiency and health & safety, we’re confident that the example of The O2 Dublin has set an exciting precedent for integrating MasterTugs with seating logistics that could be replicated by other venues that need to manage their retractable seating configurations from event to event,” he adds.

Photo credit: Populous (Architect), Gerry O'Leary (Photographer)

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