9 October 2018
The iconic fountain situated in the patio of the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico - better known as 'The Umbrella' – had lost a little bit of its luster. In the course of the years the construction designed by the architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez had suffered from severe erosion due to the forces of nature. The 6,711 m² aluminum surface had turned grey and the ceiling of The Umbrella was covered with dirt stains.
The board of the museum therefore decided it was time to set up a conservation project to preserve the monument. For the first time in 53 years, the umbrella was to be cleaned.
In order to successfully clean the aluminum ceiling of the construction, professionals had selected the ice blasting method, a technology for which you need high pressure air. At the request of the museum and its partners, Atlas Copco Rental Mexico was contacted to deliver a 100% oil-free PNS 1250 mobile compressor to supply the required pressure.
But this project was not without setbacks and difficulties. The Atlas Copco Rental team faced many challenges:
Since the artwork dates from 1964, it needed to be handled with care. Only the best quality of compressed air was good enough for the legendary Umbrella. As cleaning progressed, the committee in charge of the restoration checked the aluminum surface with a microscope. The execution had to be perfect: not a single trace could be left on the aluminum surface.
Because of the aluminum, a team of professionals concluded that ice blasting was the most appropriate cleaning method. With this method, you blow dry ice onto the aluminum surface at high pressure. To do this, the supplied compressed air must be 100% oil-free. Atlas Copco Rental was contracted to deliver this high pressure air and went 1 step further after checking out all the requirements:
We provided the museum with a portable 100% oil-free PNS 1250 compressor that produces compressed air at a pressure of 90 to 350 cfm. Besides the PNS 1250, we also supplied the museum with hoses and a manifold to connect them. With our equipment, we were able to connect the compressor to four ice-blasting machines. Also, our service technicians were on standby during the entire testing and commissioning of the equipment. They could intervene in a couple of hours in case the museum experienced problems.”
Our team faced its greatest challenge even before the start of the restoration project. The delivery and installation of the PNS 1250 compressor in the patio proved to be a difficult task. The museum had to give its infrastructure a make-over and had to remove glass panels, move artwork, etc. In addition, we couldn’t use cranes or forklifts because of the risk of damaging the precious artworks. But after 4 hours and 20 people pushing the compressor, the team accomplished the mission.
Working conditions were also far from ideal. First of all, the weather was not favorable for the project. The humidity made it very difficult to clean the monument. Secondly, the team had to work during the night. Not only because the museum remained open to the public during the day, but also because the ice-blasting machines made a lot of noise.
Ricardo explains: “But all well that ends well! Our team brought the project to a successful conclusion thanks to great flexibility & good materials.”
The Umbrella is the icon of the museum and symbolizes the past of Mexico, so the artwork needed to be handled with care. For this restoration work, only the best equipment and the best service was good enough.
Atlas Copco Rental was able to deliver a complete solution and provide reliable advice to the museum.
When there was an emergency or unexpected change during the process, our service technicians were on site in less than an hour. That's the added value of working with a partner like us! We do not only rent state of the art compressors, but we also make sure the customer gets the best service 24/7.”
In the end the museum was very satisfied! They were surprised to see a fully reliable unit that was so easy to use. I am very proud of our team for having conquered all the challenges of this project and for leaving behind a satisfied client
Now the umbrella is shining like never before and draws the attention of every museum visitor.