An assembly project with a three-year development phase

Lakhta Tower, St. Petersburg
Image: Heavydrive


Heavydrive delivers cranes and suction systems to the Lakhta Tower construction site in St. Petersburg


The Lakhta Tower in St. Petersburg (Russia) is one of Europe’s most prestigious architectural feats, and at a height of 462m, it will be the tallest building on the continent. Like most futuristic constructions, it pushes standard assembly solutions to their limits: it’s a job for the experts. The façade construction company, the Lindner Group KG, called in support from lifting and transportation specialists Heavydrive GmbH to plan, develop and implement the project. The Tapfheim-based company, along with Josef Gartner GmbH from Gundelfingen and Waagner Biro AG from Vienna, became the main suppliers for the construction project.

The Lakhta Tower in the second-largest Russian city is an unparalleled construction, with 83 floors, a record-breaking continuous concrete pour into the foundation, and 400,000 sqm of usable floor space. Right on the bank of the Baltic Sea, the tower will be a multi-purpose centre and the new home of the largest Russian natural gas company and numerous other firms.


A checklist for obligations and rules


This mega project placed enormous requirements on the glass assembly equipment: it would have to be ultra-light and at the same time be able to bear heavy loads. The equipment also needed to be remote controllable and be able to function in temperatures as low as -20°C. Another challenge was that the frame of the suction system needed to be particularly flexible and be able to lift curved panes.

What seems impossible for standard devices is a cinch for Heavydrive GmbH. The company specialises in complicated and heavy pane assembly and has a wide range of special devices to rent and to buy. Heavydrive experts worked with the customer for three years to find the perfect assembly solution for this difficult project.

Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg, conference building in front of the Lakhta
Tower; Image: Heavydrive


After an intensive development phase, the Tapfheim-based company produced four VSG 600 K MH vacuum suction systems especially for the project. These systems have a 2circuit system with a hydraulic pivot mechanism and motorised swivel function. The systems’ functions are remote controllable and they are suitable for use in extreme, subzero temperatures. Heavydrive GmbH also developed two counterweight traverses that can be connected to the VSG 600 K MH with a quick-change head. The customer visited the Heavydrive factory site in Tapfheim to see the assembly solutions for themselves. The team carried out a field test that simulated the construction site conditions and demonstrated the system’s functions with very convincing results.

Project solutions from A to Z


From then on, the Lindner Group GmbH benefited from Heavydrive’s one-stop service. The experts organised everything from making sure the system was safely packaged for transportation to the customs paperwork. 

Field test of VSG 600 K MH with counterweight traverse at the Heavydrive headquarters in Tapfheim
Image: Heavydrive

But there were still a few hurdles to overcome. For delivery to Russia, the devices had to be certified under the Gossudarstvenny standards (technical government standards), so auditors came to the Tapfheim factory site from Russia to inspect the devices. The company passed this test, and on 11 May 2017, the devices were safely transported to St. Petersburg where assembly could begin on schedule. The Lakhta Center will be completed in 2018.

Safe loading of the devices in accordance with standards
Image: Heavydrive


Heavydrive GmbH has over ten years of expertise in the field of glass transportation and assembly. Heavydrive is one of the few companies worldwide to specialise in custom solutions for extremely difficult construction site conditions with extra-large panes. In addition to renting out and selling devices, the Swabian firm offers support throughout the implementation of the project – from the early planning stages and tests to using the devices on the construction site.

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