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US Glass Magazine’s March 2014 issue featured an article about the complicated business of heavy glass lifting – AGNORA’s insights into this topic are highlighted in their article.

From: Glass.com Volume 49, Issue 3 – March 2014

There are many challenges to producing complex glass—whether that means unusually thin, oversized or complicatedly connected—in between finding the equipment big enough to make it and installing it onsite. Fabricators must get creative in how they have to package and ship these materials.

Kevin Nash, sales and marketing for Architectural Glass North America (AGNORA) in Collingwood, Ontario, puts it, “Customers invest thousands of dollars into their heavily fabricated prestigious glass. However it only retains its value if it is received at the jobsite in pristine condition.”

As a result, AGNORA’s shipping and packaging crews custom-build crates that can be easily forklifted, each crate is unique to the dimensions of the order. “Customers offload crates via their forklift or crane/sling attachment. The fully enclosed self-standing crates provide protection until the customer is ready to glaze,” Nash says.

Fabricators also have to account for loading this extra heavy glass into machinery. AGNORA uses unique forklift equipment for the “safe, careful and gentle manoeuver of what may be multiple days’ worth of fabrication work into the autoclave or heat-soak test oven,” Nash explains.

Transporting glass within the fabrication facility can be just as challenging as moving it offsite, Nash adds.

“Work-in-process big glass is unforgiving. It cannot ‘bump’ into things while in transit between work stations. Jumbo glass needs room to move as it goes from production step to production step, between fabrication methods on the shop floor,” Nash says. As he explains it, shop floor crews routinely move, for example, 20-foot-long IG units or 275-inch-long laminated fins. “We supplement jumbo size transport dollies with 28 crane systems. Our ceiling mounted crane systems have capacities up to 7,500 pounds.”

Nash further notes that simply rotating 20-foot-tall glass during fabrication can be a challenge, and the company consequently has had to custom-manufacture specialized equipment simply to rotate the glass and move between vertical and horizontal handling positions. Various suction cup crane attachments also have been modified to accommodate jumbo glass.