Weddington United Methodist Church opens its doors to hundreds of congregants each Sunday. And one recent weekday, it opened its doors to a dragon.
"That's the only thing I can compare it to," says Michael E. Carver with a smile. "It folds up compactly like a dragon folding its wings, but can rise up to 50 feet high. It's an incredible thing to see in action."
Carver, the facility manager of Weddington UMC in Weddington, North Carolina, is describing the Teupen lift he brought in to handle one of the most extensive maintenance projects in the church's history: relamping the entire facility with LED lighting.
"We used to take a big hit every three or four years when we needed to replace all the incandescent bulbs that line our ceiling," he explains. "The bulbs were expensive and so was the labor to replace them. We knew we needed to make the switch to LED lighting because these new bulbs can last up to 20 years, but we also knew it was going to be difficult to access all the areas we needed to reach for relamping. We've been Teupen customers for years, so we're aware of the big difference they make for very big jobs like this one."
The challenges weren't limited to the soaring vaulted ceiling. The church's sanctuary, which can seat 900 congregants, has a steep slope and several rows of pews bolted to the floor. There is little room to maneuver, and double doors with posts in the middle limit the size of the equipment that can enter the facility.
"We needed something very specific a machine that could fit through a small space but could also extend to reach a 50-foot ceiling," Carver says. "With all these requirements, it really came down to using a Teupen lift. It has a greater reach than any other lift on the market."
For this relamping project, Carver obtained a LEO Series Teupen lift through United Rentals. He says the experience was seamless and incurred no wear-and-tear on the sanctuary. The compact lift folded up to roll right through the church's front doors. Carver says he was surprised by how quietly and cleanly the machinery operated, with no fumes or odors.
Once inside the sanctuary, the lift was utilized by two teams of electricians and lighting specialists. These teams were able to anchor the unit on the sloped floor by precisely positioning the adjustable outriggers for balance and stability. Then workers climbed into the basket to quickly and safely ascend to the ceiling, where the old lighting was removed and the new LED system was installed. With the work completed, the Teupen lift folded back up to make a smooth exit from the facility.
"This was basically a good-proof solution," Carver says. "I was surprised at how easy it was to take care of a job that has a lot of complicated variables not just access and control, but safety. I'm guessing that if we had used scaffolding rather than a lift, it would have been more expensive and we couldn't have completed this complex job in just about a week, with no interruption of church services. The people at Teupen USA are helpful and professional and always give us excellent service. I think of Teupen as the Mercedes-Benz of lifts. It's well-engineered, reliable, hardworking and top-of-the-line."
If it sounds like Carver would use Teupen again in the near future, he says it won't be necessary: "It's good news for us that the new LED bulbs can last 15 to 20 years. But when that times rolls around, I'm confident we'll come back to Teupen."