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Building Success with BIM: Teaching a River to Sing

Case Studies - Mar 20

Building Success with BIM: Teaching a River to Sing

JLG Industries, Inc.
World-leading access equipment manufacturer
McConnellsburg, PA

To honor their 100-year anniversary in 2018, the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge, LA donated a 14-ft tall, spherical sculpture to be installed on the Mississippi Riverfront—and JLG was there for it all.


From initial planning stages using the BIM model of the JLG® 1255 telehandler through the final installation, JLG helped their customer at Turner Industries Group, LLC install this unique, singing sculpture with absolute confidence.

Telehandling It with BIM

Being built on the Mississippi Riverfront offered its fair share of challenges, not the least of which was extremely limited space requirements on the levee.

“One wrong little step and you would’ve been hearing about this on the news,” said Mark Kenney, Rigging Engineer on the project.

Using the BIM model for the telehandler, however, Mark and his team were able to leap that hurdle with ease. The 3D BIM model’s precise specifications allowed them to visualize its exact placement on the levee and share that information with the Rotary Club and the artist of the sculpture.

“It was much easier…versus looking at a specifications sheet,” Kenney said, “Since it was a 3D model, I was able to put the boom with the [telehandler] to show the customer how we planned on doing it. It worked out really well.”

Putting It All Together

Using the JLG® 1255 telehandler, the crew unloaded each of the sculpture’s three primary pieces with the carriage and forks. However, the outer shell of the sculpture was too large to ship as one piece. Split down the middle in two halves, the outer piece needed to be connected together and installed while being held aloft so as not to scar the reflective, stainless-steel surface.

Fortunately, thanks to effective planning with the BIM model and prior communication with JLG, the team knew they had exactly the right equipment to get the job done.

“The [telehandler] lifting hook attachment turned out to be the best way to do that due to space restrictions and flexibility,” said David Bondurant, Manager of the Rigging Department on the project.

The [telehandler] lifting hook attachment turned out to be the best way to [install the sculpture] due to space restrictions and flexibility.

In coordination with a 165-ton-capacity crane, the JLG® 1255 telehandler’s lifting hook attachment helped juggle each piece into position.

“We set it in position with the crane and then transferred the lifting from the crane to the forklift. The forklift held it, then we went back and got the second piece, lifted it up and set it on its foundations. Then we worked the crane and the forklift together to make the connection at the top center area.”

The artist, San Francisco-based Po Shu Wang, was also there looking over the installation and “was loving every minute of it,” Bondurant said.

14 ft tall Sculpture

 The Finished Product

This 14-ft-tall sculpture resembles three stainless steel, reflective spheres nestled within each other. Visible from the Mississippi River bridge, this piece will also be illuminated by LED lights at night—it’s reflective surfaces helping to brighten the riverfront.

And while it's undoubtedly impressive to look at, how it makes the Mississippi “sing” will be the mark it leaves on Baton Rouge.

A sensor in the Mississippi River measures the speed of the current and the height of the river. Software then bounces this information back to an antenna within the sculpture that converts it to sound frequencies, allowing the river to “sing.” Visitors to the sculpture will be able to “sing” back to the river, by either speaking into one of the spheres or pressing buttons.

150 different songs were recorded in the same key for the sculpture. The flow of the river determines the volume and what songs are played—like a jam session.

150 different songs were recorded in the same key for the sculpture. “The flow of the river determines the volume and what songs are played—like a jam session,” Bondurant said.


Plan Smarter with JLG

When you’re looking for the most accurate BIM models, trust no one else but JLG. We create all our BIM models internally, giving you absolute confidence that every lift and access equipment model you download directly from our library is up to date with precise specifications.

See JLG BIM Library


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