SATA spray guns in action – while building the second largest clock in the world
Have you ever wondered how a tower clock is built? Tower clocks are seen as distinctive landmarks all over the world. Usually we only notice them when church bells strike on the hour and our gaze wanders to the tower clock, or when we instinctively read the time while strolling through the city.
All over the world, the PERROT company restores a wide range of clocks on request and realises impressive new projects, such as the construction of the world's largest tower clock in Mecca on the 600-metre-high tower of the Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower Hotels.
The Makkah Clock in Mekka
The world's largest tower clock was inaugurated in 2011. The four dials of the Makkah Clock each have a diameter of 43 metres and are decorated with mosaics. Materials with little weight were used as much as possible. Still, even the hands, which consist of a carbon fibre composite material, weigh 6,000 and 7,500 kilograms each, given a length of 17 and 22 metres. Each clock weighs in at a proud 21 tonnes. A special steel framework, similar to the structure of the Eiffel Tower, was designed to support the total weight of 36,000 tonnes. Solar power units feed the clockworks with electricity. The Makkah Clock was inaugurated in 2011.
Current project with SATA
In addition to many smaller projects, the company is currently working on about 25 customer-specific orders. One of these is the construction of the second largest clock in the world, which will soon be on display in Dubai as a façade clock on a commercial property of a family-operated company.
The individual components, from the mechanisms to the switching technology to the motorised hand mechanism, are manufactured in Calw. Any constructions not covered by core competence are outsourced to partner companies as needed. The various components as well as the numerals and hands for the clock are then painted in Perrot's in-house paint booth using SATA spray guns.
We had an opportunity to look over the shoulder of one of Perrot’s painters as they worked on the hands, and we were able to ask Andreas Perrot, one of the three managing directors, a few questions about the current project.
Interview with Andreas Perrot, one of the three managing directors of PERROT GmbH & Co. KG:
SATA: Mr Perrot, what is it that led to an order of this volume?
Andreas Perrot: The customer first became aware of us through the construction of the world's largest clock in Mecca, and he then contacted us about his project via our homepage.
After initial considerations about the inquiry, we invited the customer to Calw to present our idea and concept for the project. It’s always easier to define details in a personal discussion, and the customer has an opportunity to see our production and our expertise for themselves.
The customer was persuaded not just by the fact that we had already built the world's largest clock, but also by our quality standards as well as the long tradition of our company and the associated expertise.
SATA: What kind of time frame are we talking about for a customer-specific large-scale project like this, from customer inquiry to the completion of the project?
Andreas Perrot: We usually need about six months for such an order; it usually depends on the complexity of the technical arrangements.
SATA: Did the customer have any special requirements for this order?
Andreas Perrot: Their wish was to have the second largest clock in the world as a uniquely distinguishing decoration for the family business’s company building. We looked at the available budget and decided on the final dimensions of the clock.
SATA: How big will the clock be, and what will be special about this clock for Dubai?
Andreas Perrot: Given its diameter of approx. 14.5 metres, the clock will be the second largest in the world. The numerals will measure 2.56 metres each. The hour- and minute-hands alone for one of the clock's dials will have a total weight of 1,600 kg. The clock as a whole will be installed at a height of over 100 metres.
SATA: What do you consider the special challenges of this project?
Andreas Perrot: In Dubai, the climatic conditions themselves pose particular challenges for this project. Extreme temperature changes need to be taken into account. Environmental conditions, such as sand and high winds, play a significant role. Due to the sandstorms, for example, special lubricants that the sand can’t adhere to are used. The switching gear and motors also need to be designed for these conditions.
Despite these highly individual circumstances, the structural design and static calculation have to be correctly assured and implemented.
SATA: These do seem like unbelievable weights that the clockwork (motor hand drive) has to be able to withstand. What is the anticipated running time for such a clock? How many years is it expected to operate? And how do you make sure this is the case?
Andreas Perrot: We generally assume a service life of about 50 years for such a clock. The electronics and control elements need to be replaced after about 20 to 25 years.
We strongly believe in a certain quality standard, which is why we prefer products "Made in Germany”. With German products, it is generally a safe bet that spare parts will still be available after a few years.
This means that the production of necessary parts such as sheet metal constructions, which we cannot manufacture ourselves, are contracted out to German partner companies, and we obtain required products for our manufacturing processes or as components from trusted suppliers in Germany.
That’s also the reason why we use SATA spray guns.
SATA: What is it that needs to be taken into account when painting the clock components?
Andreas Perrot: One of the challenges on this project was that the hands had to be painted not just from the outside, but from the inside as well. We were able to deal with this by using SATA’s products for cavity sealing.
Selecting the right paint always plays an important role, as some clocks, for example, are exposed to very high temperature fluctuations of possibly -40° to+ 50° centigrade. Generally, a paint finish should last at least 30 years.
SATA: What is it you appreciate most about SATA spray guns?
Andreas Perrot: We really appreciate the excellent quality and reliability and that the products are "Made in Germany". We’re persuaded by the extensive product range, which allows us to find a solution for any challenge. Since we attach great value to sustainability, we’re even more pleased that this is an integral part of SATA's business activities and that, for example, spare parts are made available for a long time.
Visit to Perrot - SATA spray guns in action
For 160 years, the PERROT-Turmuhren und Läuteanlagen company in Calw has been a specialist in the manufacture of tower clocks, special clocks, chimes, striking mechanisms and ringing systems.
This medium-sized family business was founded in 1860 and is currently in its fifth generation. In 1894, the well-known German writer Hermann Hesse, who was born in Calw, completed an internship in the company. With locations in Leipzig and Remscheid as well as another 40 agencies, Perrot is active all over the world.
All products and components for the clocks are developed by the Perrot company. For each project, Perrot’s employees have to adjust to different circumstances, requirements and wishes of customers and be able to harmonise traditional methods with modern processes and cutting-edge technology.
Perrot clocks can be found in churches, mosques, town halls, schools, companies and even an adventure pool.
RULANTICA adventure pool
Mosque in Kerbala/Iraq