Need a Lift?  
Bigger Glass and a Focus on Safety Drive  
Demand for Glass Handling Equipment  
by Ellen Rogers  
Architect:  
I want huge panels of  
glass on this project.  
Can you do it?  
Fabricator:  
Yes, absolutely.  
f only it were that simple. Architec- Big Glass, Big Demand  
from their traditions and old ways.  
Anderson says she has definitely However, there is a great amount of in-  
terest and people moving forward with  
“We’re getting more requests every lifting equipment. Sometimes there is  
involved as well to meet these growing day for large lifters,” she says. “Our ca- no other option and they’ve exhausted  
needs.But it’s not as easy as it may seem. pacity range is as little as 300 pounds other methods, and now the glass is  
Architects sometimes fail to re- to 4,200 pounds. We’re seeing less of a getting bigger. They’re finding they  
alize that someone has to put this trend in that 300- to 700-pound range need something different, and that  
jumbo glass] into the structure, and and much more in the 1,400-plus range.” opens more minds when they realize  
the means to do that don’t always  
Jerry Nudi, co-owner of Ergo Ro- the old ways won’t do it.”  
exist,” says Holly Anderson, who botic Solutions in Glen Falls, N.Y., says  
Alan Nudi, account manager with  
tural designs increasingly call for  
I
super-sized glass panels. In turn, seen growth for this equipment.  
more and more fabricators are getting  
[
works in technical sales for Wood’s there continues to be strong interest in Ergo,adds that market demand is driv-  
Powr-Grip in Laurel, Mont. “The ar- lifting equipment. He says while there ing growth and development.  
chitects are definitely creating beau- are many contractors and manufactur-  
tiful designs, but they aren’t always ers that see the need for this equipment glass market in general. Architects and  
practical off paper.”  
and take it seriously, others still see it engineers are pushing for more and  
As a result, handling and lifting as an economic cost.  
more glass, and then they want it bigger  
equipment companies have seen a surge  
“They are struggling to see it as an and with fewer seams. Eventually, build-  
in demand, as these large jobs call for economic win,” he says. “They also ings will be completely glass,”he says.“So  
“I think there’s a lot of growth in the  
heavy-duty maneuvering capabilities.  
might find it’s a struggle to change in light of that, sometimes traditional  
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USGlass, Metal & Glazing | October 2017  
www.usglassmag.com  
ways are not an option. The architects only does the increasing size of glass workers. Then the next job is when you  
and engineers don’t think about how the factor into safety considerations, but start making money with it.”  
construction and installation are done, also advancing performance levels. For  
but the builders do,and it’s getting to the example,impact products,such as hur- price is high and says that’s standard  
point where they can’t do it by hand.” ricane and ballistic glazing, are thicker across the board. She says one thing  
Tim Walswick, general superinten- and heavier than traditional systems. her company has done is expand its  
dent for glazing contractor Benson  
“When that happens,you can’t even get lease line to help meet those needs.  
Industries, agrees that demand is enough hands on to handle it,”he says.  
She adds it’s also critical that custom-  
growing. He says, “Today’s heavy glass As an example of how products are ers consider their lead times,not just for  
and the stringent safety rules to keep changing to accommodate the need the glass, but also the equipment.  
workers from getting hurt while setting for more safety, Wood’s developed the “That’s a daily battle and struggle,”  
Anderson agrees that the sticker  
glass and metal,”is driving that growth. Intelli-Grip feature, which monitors she says.“When we talk about big glass  
the lifter’s vacuum and power systems, and special application products, all  
Safety is Top Priority  
adjusts resources as necessary and no- are generally designed to order. Big  
Whether working with jumbo- or stan- tifies the operator when something re- glass requires longer lead times, and  
dard-sized glass, safety is critical. Com- quires special attention. Instead of just so does the equipment. You need to  
panies are increasingly looking for ways making a buzzing sound, Anderson consider in advance how you’re going  
to create and maintain a safer workplace, says, this feature gives users an answer to move that glass.”  
both in the shop and on the jobsite.  
[Customer] safety departments are why that’s happening.  
in contact with our technical staff a lot  
more frequently,”says Anderson.“There company’s equipment begins as a cus- “I try and take the responsibility of find-  
have been government requirements so tom product. ing what might work best for them and fit  
that they’re more and more involved, “Our options are customizable, but their needs.I ask about jobsite conditions,  
and we’re seeing that from folks on both there are so many people who have the dimensions,weight,what they are lifting,  
residential and commercial sides.” same needs. We’ve found over time a how high up,whether they need to rotate  
on a screen display letting them know  
Jerry Nudi says when talking with cus-  
tomers his goal is to help them find the  
Jerry Nudi says that much of his equipmentthatwillbestmeettheirneeds.  
She adds,“Safety is a big concern and commonality among people that we I ask a lot of questions to then come  
always has been, especially when deal- could make a number of each different up with the least amount of machine to  
ing with huge lites of glass. Customers models, with slight modifications or ad- start that will fit their needs. I also find  
are looking for resources for those in ditions to what the machine is already out if this is the largest piece of glass they  
the field,so they know they can trust the doing,”he says,adding they’ve also made work with or could they be working with  
equipment. They’re giving the end user changes to accommodate different sizes. something bigger in the future.”  
more accessibility to understand the  
“We take what we did that only went to  
As architectural glass continues to  
product and being able to use it safely.” a certain size glass,and we can now scale evolve, becoming larger and heavier,  
Jerry Nudi says both glass shops and it for larger,bigger,heavier glass.So,it can the handling and lifting equipment  
manufacturers are realizing that injuries handle more and more complex building manufacturers will continue to re-  
on the job are causing them to look for designs.”  
machines and equipment that can lay  
spond,helping ensure safe and produc-  
tive operations. n  
the glass for processing purposes, move Think Before You Buy  
it around the shop,etc.,which helps min-  
imize manual handling and placement.  
While much of the equipment  
does come at a premium price point,  
Alan Nudi adds,“When you can use many say the benefits outweigh the  
a machine for lifting—a machine that initial investment. As Walswick ex-  
doesn’t get tired—it makes the con- plains, “The initial investment is  
tractors feel a lot more comfortable and costly, but usually can be recovered  
E l l e n R o g e r s is the  
editor of USGlass magazine.  
Follow her on Twitter @  
EllenGRogers and like her on  
Facebook at usgellenrogers to  
receive updates.  
gives them peace of mind.”  
in one job because you’re eliminating  
Jerry Nudi also points out that not a worker and sometimes multiple  
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October 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
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