Setting the stage at Absa Experience @The Zone, Rosebank

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For many years, industry analysts and banking experts have been confidently predicting that bank branches as we know it are “doomed” and that bricks-and-mortar bank buildings may soon no longer be needed in a push-button society.

However Retail banking globally has shown that maintaining a physical presence is key to any Retail bank’s strategy. Even online only offers like Amazon, Warby Parker and Birchbox are moving aggressively into physical channels.

Thus, although it was predicted that bank branches would quickly become obsolete in an on-screen, digitised society, the reality is that many full‐service branches are not closing but rather evolving to meet changing customer needs.

Based at The Zone in Rosebank, Absa Experience was designed to move beyond the look and feel of a traditional bank branch.

“It is a space where customers and communities can interact, and where the bank can showcase and test new ideas and concepts, enabling the next generation of Absa customers through events and curated experiences. It is a space where we spark conversation to create a better future, together and we will regularly evolve with new partnerships, thought-provoking themed events, showcases and exhibitions,” said Marius de la Rey, Chief Executive: Customer Channels, Distribution and Coverage.

Automated Hoists by DWR Distribution

Part of the attraction in the space is an automated stage. For this project, Absa commissioned the services of Profica, a professional construction and property solutions company, who in turn sub-contracted JBCC as the main contractor and DWR Distribution for the design, manufacture and installation on the automated hoists.

A clever concept sees the automated stage, when not in use, being raised to the fixed ceiling. With careful attention to design, the stage blends in with the aesthetics of the ceiling.

Due to the positioning of furniture and worktops below the stage, it was not possible to add support legs to the stage. As a result, the stage was designed to be lowered to 1.2 meters above floor level and has two staircases which unfold to the ground, allowing people access to the stage.

During operation, the weight of the stage and persons on the stage is carried by a hoist via steel wire ropes. In lieu of this, the folding staircases serve two purposes: To allow access to the stage and also to stabilise the stage from any lateral movement during use. Each staircase is hinged in the center as well at the attachment point on the stage, allowing them to be manually folded and stowed on top of the stage when it is hoisted back into the ceiling void.

The hoist installed at Absa Experience was designed by Rob Young of the DWR manufacturing department.  “The design was based on a 4-line pile wind hoist with 4 x 8mm diameter steel wire ropes, re-directed from the hoist through a pulley arrangement in the roof area so that one steel wire rope came down in each corner of the stage,” explained Rob.

“Arranging the fixing points of the stage to the steel wire ropes in this manner, maximises the useable area of the stage platform, as well as keeping sight-lines clear for the audience.”

The hoist, motor and inverter were designed to specification and comprise of:

  • 1 x W 110 U 56 P100 B5 B3 Worm Gearbox, 1 x Universal gearcase
  • 1 x Motor 100LA 4 230/400-50 IP54 CLF B5 FD 40 110 SD
  • 1 x 2,2Kw Eurovoltage D.C. brake
  • 1 x Inverter 400V Three phase inverter 2.2kw size 1 with EMI filter
  • 8 x Diverter Pulleys
  • 1 x Hoist & Pully supporting steel & brackets

The hoist system was designed for a safe working load of 1 000kg and the weight of the stage and staircases weigh 500kg.  A further allowance of 500kg was made for people to stand on the stage.

Alclad supplied the stage and staircases as a unit to DWR, who in turn fitted eyebolts in each of the corners to support the suspension of the stage.

Part of DWR’s responsibility was to train up the relevant staff members on the safety operations of the hoist and the operating system.

For more information on DWR, contact

Rob Young

DWR Distribution Manufacturing Department

Tel: 011 794 5023/082 652 6284