Layher Myth Mashers video series – exploring the misconceptions and myths surrounding the Layher Allround Lightweight Scaffolding System.
Myth Mashers 1 – Kwikstage is just as quick to assemble
I have heard that Kwikstage is just as quick as Layher Allround on straightforward scaffolds. Is that right? Most scaffolders will argue that the speed of assembly of a scaffolding structure is largely a matter of the number of components and the overall weight.
Any comparison between Layher Allround Lightweight and Kwikstage will reveal startling differences in the weight of the scaffolding structure and the number of components involved. The reduction in component numbers is achieved through innovative product development that allows for wider decks fewer braces and in most situations no requirement for ledgers at deck level.
In addition to these factors even straightforward scaffolds typically involve the need to address corner solutions and to tend to gaps. Now when compared to Kwikstage Layher Allround corner solutions are in a different league and the same can be said for gap solutions.
These Layher solutions introduce a third productivity element clever system components that dismiss the need for clumsy time-consuming workarounds. System components of this nature are a defining feature of the Layher product range.
Now returning to the specific question about Layher Allround and Kwikstage on straightforward scaffolds. I’ve only once been asked to enter Layher Allround in a speed challenge against Kwikstage. The challenge was for the assembly of a very simple structure which involved the erection of four bays with ladder access to a single working deck.
The same Kwikstage team assembled both structures and the guys had virtually no prior experience with the Layher Allround product. The result of the exercise was that the Kwikstage structure took 87 percent longer to assemble than the Layher Allround. The challenger was convinced and I’m happy to report that they became a Layher customer. They disposed of their Kwikstage material and went on to invest millions into the Layher Allround system.
You would have enjoyed that outcome no doubt? You bet!
Myth Mashers 2 – Too many components
Hugh we often hear that Layher products have too many components.
What’s your response to that claim?
Ah yes too many components. Well you may be surprised to know that typically our response is to recommend that a customer should not buy all these things. Oh that’s interesting.
Let me explain that position. Layher takes pride in maintaining a strong focus on continuous research and development to enable Layher users constantly to improve their on-site safety and productivity. The result is that a large number of components have been developed to address a myriad range of problems that are encountered on site.
Every Layher customer has their own specific problems to solve and when our technical and sales representatives identify such problems invariably we’re in a position to recommend a Layher component that will quickly solve that problem.
That’s the beauty of having available the wide range of Layher components that offer specific system solutions for customers. I like that. However the important point is that we recommend to customers that they should only consider investments into Layher components that will be used repeatedly to solve their particular on-site problems.
This high utilsation of efficient components achieves long-term improvements in profitability and safety. So yes Layher has plenty of components available for customers but that should be perceived as a great strength not a weakness.
Myth Mashers 3 – Galvanising
Is there any substance in the claim that Layher’s galvanised products achieve extraordinary longevity?
That one is not a myth that one’s a fact. Now to achieve top-class galvanising requires serious attention to scientific detail. Layher maintains exceptional outcomes with our zinc coatings and our computer-controlled galvanising facilities are the largest in Germany.
Now I’m not going to bore you with the technicalities involved in galvanising but I will provide a couple of practical examples instead. One example is I visited a Queensland coal terminal, it was a project in 2014. New scaffolding equipment had been provided by a number of suppliers to address a jetty construction project.
After 18 months the equipment was stripped and returned to a holding yard. I saw bin loads of fittings all displaying various degrees of erosion. I then saw a bin with fittings that showed no corrosion. Guess who supplied those ones.
In 2019 I was at our head office this is another example in Germany. When I was there I took up an opportunity to visit a construction site with a Layher customer. I photographed what I saw on site. Layher Allround Scaffolding standards that have been manufactured in the 1970s were incorporated in a scaffold together with Layher Lightweight standards that have been manufactured within the previous five years.
There was an element of corrosion around the 1970s rosettes but otherwise it was clear that the old standards were perfectly serviceable. Also on site I saw SpeedyScaf frames that had been made in the 1960s and Layher steel decks from such an early version that our head office had difficulty confirming the date of manufacture.
In all cases the galvanised coating was in sound condition. These various examples demonstrate extraordinary value for money and an impressive return on investment for that scaffolding business. In light of this evidence for product longevity it’s worth making one further point from an accounting perspective.
What is in reality the real cost for annual depreciation when investing in Layher products?
Myth Mashers 4 – Equivalent to the top of the range BMW
Layher Allround is frequently considered to be the equivalent of a top of the range BMW. What’s the point of investing in something like that when a business already has say a perfectly good Toyota ute. Yes, I’ve often heard that motor car analogy.
Layher Allround is made entirely in Germany and to very exacting standards of quality so it’s not surprising that we frequently hear this comparison to BMW or Mercedes. However I think the analogy is flawed because it offers a comparison between one perfectly serviceable and suitable product, the Toyota ute, and an alternative that offers little commercial advantage it’s just very much more sophisticated and expensive. That’s true.
I think a better analogy is to simply run with transportation. So let’s consider the Layher Allround system to be a sound and serviceable ute. By comparison I suggest that more basic alternative scaffolding systems are more like a horse and car. Certainly it’s less expensive to invest in a horse and cars as the means of transport for a business.
However when considered in terms of both productivity and safety there’s no contest. During the 1800s horses and carts were universally in use for business transport. Now I wonder how many businesses these days would happily opt for horse and cart in favour of a ute? Not many.
Myth Mashers 5 – Cheaper copies of the Layher Allround Scaffolding System
What do you think of the cheaper copies of the Layher Allround scaffolding system? There are no copies of Layher Allround. There are only lookalikes.
It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and there’s plenty of evidence that Layher is constantly being flattered in that respect. Many manufacturers sell their look-alike products.
However the important point to keep firmly in mind is that beyond any superficial similarity Layher Allround Scaffolding remains a vastly different product for a wide range of reasons.
One good example is the launch of Layher Allround Lightweight in 2013. Then introduced a particular step change in Layher Allround that I suspect none of the look-alike systems will ever attempt to replicate.
To focus on just one example of the Layher Allround Lightweight development consider the extraordinary Allround Lightweight standard. A standard that’s lighter and is of greater strength complete with an integrated spigot.
Think about. That a single tube of steel formed into a standard complete with a spigot. A standard with a weight reduction of up to 10 percent an attention load capacity of up to 7 tons. That’s a tricky thing to achieve.
During the research and development phase many manufacturing experts dismissed Layher’s formed spigot aspiration as an impossibility. But we achieved it. That’s impressive!
Well this is a big subject and I could elaborate at length to provide a much more detailed explanation of the features that differentiate Layher Allround from alternative ring-based scaffolding systems.
However, the important point to remember is that there are no Layher copies out there. There are just plenty of look-alikes.
Myth Mashers 6 – Layher scaffolding is too expensive
What are your thoughts about the observation that Layher Scaffolding is too expensive? Our usual response to that perception is to ask the question when compared to what? It might be more productive to consider this issue in terms of value or perhaps return on investment.
Businesses don’t invest in Layher products because they look good or because they are made in Germany. Businesses invest to achieve attractive returns. Layher products meet this requirement for many reasons.
Important factors include research and development and manufacturing quality. Layher’s research and development results in safe and efficient products that are light in weight, light structures that are efficient to assemble translate into labour cost savings and margin improvements every time a Layher client builds or strips a Layher structure.
Now that’s valuable. Less exceptional manufacturing quality focus applies to all aspects of production. This achieves remarkable consistency with finished products. Consistency in component strength for example consistent accuracy and dimensional tolerances and consistency with protective coatings.
Now I’m just going to focus on consistent component strengths and dimensional tolerances because I’ve addressed protective coatings as a separate topic. Engineers have great confidence in the component load capacities detailed in Layher’s technical data because they reflect our manufacturing consistency.
The practical outcome is that design certification of Layher structures is straightforward and thus time efficient for Layher clients. Accurate dimensional tolerances with components allows for easy assembly and dismantling, once again that translates into labour cost efficiency.
The worldwide demand for Layher products and services has driven the continuous growth in our manufacturing capacity and our range of products, since the business was first founded in 1945. That demand comes from businesses making investment decisions for rational commercial reasons and I’ve provided just a few examples of why it makes good sense for businesses to direct their scaffolding investment into Layher products.
So getting back to the observation that Layher Allround is too expensive I think you can see why we might give the response when compared to what?
Myth Mashers 7 – Layher Scaffolding is too complicated
What’s your response to the claim that Layher products are too complicated? This observation is never heard from those who have invested in Layher systems and undertaken Layher’s product familiarity training.
The first thing that is important to stress is that at its most elementary level, there’s virtually no difference between the simplicity of Layher Allround and the simplicity of systems such as Kwikstage or Cuplock.
Is that so? Yes and the fact is that the basic Layher Allround Scaffolding system comprises a mere 9 individual components. However, it is certainly the case that Layher Allround can be designed to produce extraordinary structures and can be used in an extraordinary range of applications.
When Layher users wish to see their businesses evolve to undertake these more challenging projects, there’s clearly a requirement to acknowledge that they are moving away from simple modular scaffolding applications to the technical modular space that can be addressed by way of Layher Allround.
It’s part of the Layher service to provide to Layher clients all the necessary design, training and on-site support to safely achieve the transition from the modular world to the technical modular world. When they’ve gained confidence in their new sector it also doesn’t take long for Layher customers to begin to dazzle us with imaginative solutions to technical problems that are entirely of their own design.
That is when we know that our customers are generating their own momentum and going from strength to strength.