The Falkirk Wheel, the worlds first rotating boat lift, was completed in 2002 and opened by Queen Elizabeth II. Like the Anderton Boat Lift, this rotating boat lift also had its own unique sealing needs.
Designed and fabricated by ourselves, the seals located at the end of each gate ensure that the two 22m long gondolas, each carrying a 300-tonne payload, remain completely watertight as the wheel transfers boating traffic between two canals with height differentials of approximately 35m.
The wheel transports eight or more boats at a time and a single trip takes about 15 minutes. Several types of sealing arrangements were considered for this project, a couple of which were manufactured on a reduced scale for trials.
Following varying degrees of success, a seal type evolved to suit all purposes. All door closing arrangements and the face at the Aqueduct and Basin ends have fabricated ‘P’ seals, a speciality seal manufactured in our workshops in Southampton.