Glass and metal construction

Glass is a material which has been used and architecturally preferred for many years. This preference is growing.  Vacuum lifting equipment has been used for transporting and installing glass panels for almost 50 years.  The generally smooth and gas-tight surface of glass means vacuum lifting devices are just right for the job. Furthermore there isn’t even the opportunity to use other load lifting equipment (e.g. positive locking) for reasons purely down to design.

In addition to the “normal” requirements for manual vacuum lifting equipment that can revolve 360° and pivot 90° with a load bearing capacity of between 300 kg and 800 kg, heavier loads are demanding motorised operation of these movements.

Vacuum lifting equipment in the load class up to 600 kg (here the OKTOPUS® GK-K600)
is the most widely used equipment.

However the vacuum lifting equipment is being more and more challenged by complicated building contours, increasing demands from heat insulation, higher buildings and the growing size of the glass panels being installed.

Automatically latching locking mechanisms for rotating and pivoting movements ensure that the controlled positioning of the suction loads take safety and ergonomic aspects into account. Detachable extension arms mean that it can adjust to various sizes of panes.

The GL-K1250 in action installing glass at the Central Station in Dresden.


Vacuum lifting equipment of larger load bearing capacity should be used in conjunction with hydraulic or motor driven positioning devices when handling heavy loads.  These positioning devices can be operated by cable or radio remote control.

The integrated hydraulic systems swings up the load on the OKTOPUS® GL-M13600. 
This piece of equipment is also completely non-reliant on external electricity sources.

The energy self-reliant OKTOPUS® HD1700 is driven by hydraulics to swing up the load by 90° and rotate the load by 180°.

Hydraulically driven positioning devices are also possible in combination with special suction bridges, such as with the GL-M13350GS for installing convex or concave shaped panes.

Indoor glazing work, where traditional cranes with vacuum lifters attached cannot be used, requires special handling equipment for installing large and heavy panes.

The Wirth OKTOPUS® GL-V handling device is also outfitted with integrated hydraulics. Panes weighing up to 300 kg can be raised and installed using the GL-V.  Three hydraulic cylinders enable the suctioned panels to be finely positioned easily. The rotating and swinging suction bridge and the suction cups which can be adjusted along all three axis mean that it can be made to fit all shapes of glass panes.

With the separately available forklift adapter, Wirth OKTOPUS® GL-V handling devices, can also be used in combination with forklifts, for overhead installation at great heights.

The suction bridge can rotate and swing on three axis and makes it possible to precisely and easily align the pane before installation.

Wirth OKTOPUS® vacuum lifting equipment as a forklift attachment was used to build the New Munich Trade Fair and to carry out glazing work at the airport in Oslo. Compared to stand-alone equipment, they naturally offer the advantages of higher load bearing capacity and more stability.

The suction bridge can be tipped forward to suction up the pane in the transport frame.

Installing glazed façade units using vacuum lifting equipment mounted on scaffolding is particularly challenging.
Usually there are only 30 cm between the scaffold and the façade, which doesn’t offer enough room to manoeuvre the vacuum lifting device with the glass panel attached by suction.
This holds especially true when the panel has to be adjusted by rotating it at the place of installation. The necessary pivot joint and crane attachment arm require that the depth of the device be at least 18 to 20 cm.  A safe, damage-free installation of the glass panel is simply no longer possible.

The pivoting joint and crane attachment arm are replaced on the OKTOPUS® FA-R vacuum lifting device by a clasping guide ring.  This serves as attachment point of the crane cables and means that the actual device can rotate freely 360° within the ring.
The total constructional depth of the FA-R is only twelve centimetres.  This makes the alignment of the façade panels at the place of installation between the scaffolding and the façade easy.
A mechanical brake prevents the load from rotating uncontrollably should the suction be off-centre, for example.