The world’s highest-climbing construction hoist is used to build the world’s tallest structure

CN Tower, Toronto, Canada

Two Alimak Super Scando construction hoists were used during the slipform construction of the world’s tallest free-standing structure: Toronto’s CN Tower. With lifting heights of 450m, the two Alimak hoists remained on site for 28 months, until the tower’s completion in 1976.

In 1973, work began clearing the site for what was to become the world’s tallest free-standing structure: the 553m CN Tower. Completed in 1976, the CN Tower held the record for world’s highest tower for 34 years, until the completion of the Burj Khalifa in 2010. As a symbol of Canada and a favorite landmark of the Toronto city skyline, the CN tower is listed as one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World.

As slipform casting began on the tower, Alimak (then Linden-Alimak) delivered two Alimak Super Scando hoists to site, transported between 13 freight cars. With a lifting height of 450m, the Super Scando was the world’s highest-climbing construction hoist at the time. Pin-driven hoist cages powered by electro-hydraulic units allowed the hoists to be steplessly controlled from 0 to 1.6 m/sec, while the specially-constructed hoist cages permitted a loading capacity of 2 tonnes per hoist.

While originally specified for 450m lifting heights, one hoist was reduced to a lifting height of 380m once construction commenced. Used during slipform construction of the concrete tower, the Super Scandos transported materials, equipment and the 100-strong workforce on site daily. Both units were employed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, remaining on site for a total of 28 months.

Hoist downtime during construction was extremely low, with a combined total of 25 hours for the two hoists over the duration of the project. Minimal downtime was achieved by:

  • Ensuring Alimak’s representative at the time, Heede International, stocked a ready supply of additional parts, thereby eliminating repair delays
  • Carrying out regular service and maintenance on the hoists as part of a proactive maintenance approach
  • Cooperation between the CN Tower construction team, Heede International and Alimak to identify and eliminate potential problems.

The CN Tower was completed in 1976, at which point it claimed the title of the tallest self-supporting structure in the world. The tower cost approximately CDN $63 million, the rough equivalent of $249 million in today’s dollars. It currently houses the antennas for five TV and five radio stations, three observation decks and a rotating restaurant at 335m. Today, the tower remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere and attracts more than two million international visitors each year. 

Construction hoist details

CN Tower, Toronto, Canada
Product Model
Tower construction, men and materials hoists
2000 kg
1.6 m/sec
Lifting Height
450 m
CN Tower, Toronto, Canada, 550 M

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