As part of a commission to document the construction of the Brighton i360 I went to Holland to see the progress being made on the tower. The Brighton i360 is an observation tower designed by the same architects that conceived of the London Eye. To a casual observer it may look like all that has happened in the past 8 months on the i360 site is that mud has been moved around. Actually a lot has been going on including the redirection of a victorian sewer, redirection electricity supply and in the past few weeks the start of the digging of the foundations. So far visually it’s not been massively exciting. What was exciting to me was visiting a factory in Holland to document the progress being made on the actual tower. Sif has been contracted by the engineering firm Hollandia to build the tower. Sif specialises in making large rounded steel structures like wind turbine towers. I tagged along with a Hollandia engineer as he inspected the welds on the tower’s components, while there I got to see some the of processes that are going into making up the i360 tower.
Inside a section of the Brighton i360 tower. Each section is about 12 meters long and will bolted together on site.
This is where steel seats arrive at Sif, just behind the door at end is canal where most material arrives and leaves the factory.
Flat steel sheets being cut to size.
Flat steel sheets about to rolled up (this is not actually part of the Brighton i360).
Flat steel sheets about to rolled up (this is not actually part of the i360).
The steel sheets are fed into a press which rolls them round, once in the press it only takes a few minutes to roll them (this is not actually part of the i360).
All it takes is three wheels and some brute force to turn flat steel into a cylinder.
The press that is used at Sif has two engines each of which have the equivalent torque force of 1000 formula one engines although they run a little slower.
As the steel moves through the machine the ends of the once flat plate slowly creep together.
The rolled can is welded together by machine but a guide grove is welded by hand before the main weld happens. This is not a part of the i360 (it’s much larger than the i360 cans).
A machine welds the rolled ends of the cans together doing 20+ consecutive welds to fill a grove with steel and make it a solid piece of metal. This not part of the i360.
Part of the i360 being lifted though the factory.
The closest cylinder and two on the right are parts of the Brighton i360.
Two cylinders in the distance are part of the Brighton i360.
i360 component being inspected.
i360 flange stack, the i360 will come to Brighton in segments and will bolted together on site. Flanges are welded to the ends of the cans so that they can be bolted together later. In the background you can see two cans one with a flange and one without.
Flange being welded to a i360 can.
Internal welds being inspected.
Internanl measurements of an i360 can being made being made
Each can is approximately twelve meters long.
Holandia quality control inspector making a few notes.
All important plans