Just imagine the considerable gamut of logistics involved in trying to move a behemoth piece of glass that extends nearly 46 feet in length, stands more than 10 feet in height and weighs in at a little more than 7,700 pounds. Now imagine that glass is laminated.
Then imagine doing it twice within a six-month span, and include an overseas jaunt from Germany to the United States. But that’s just what determined seele officials managed to accomplish following their recent successful venture to premier the world’s largest laminated lite in Denver at the 2013 AIA Convention.
Made from two lites of 12-mm, heat-strengthened, low-iron glass and laminated with DuPont’s SentryGlas interlayer, the glass wowed the crowd on hand in Denver with its sheer mullion-less enormity. That was just the idea, says company president Attila Arian.
“That was the kind of reaction we wanted,” he says. “We wanted to inspire the architects, as well as the exhibitors with its sheer size.”
But making that happen wasn’t so easy. seele officials found the challenges considerably more daunting than their previous task of transporting the large lite of glass from the company’s new autoclave in Gersthofen to nearby Munich for January’s BAU 2013 trade fair.
“That was pretty easy there,” Arian says of the glass’ earlier move. “Here, we had a lot of challenges, but the biggest was obviously to make sure we got the glass to the show in one piece and to then coordinate the many things we had to do to get it set up.”
For starters, that meant the use of a large crane to pick up the packaged glass and carefully secure it on a large flatbed truck that would evenly distribute the glass’ weight and best minimize breakage. After painstakingly making sure everything was as it was supposed to be, company officials and the specially-trained crew they employed would have to go through the whole process again when unloading the glass at the airport for its flight to Houston and one more time still when it was time to reload the glass for the flight from there to Denver.
A seele company representative accompanied the glass during every step of its travels, but flawless previous coordination with managers at every stop of the way was a must.
Another seele employee had arrived in Denver a few weeks in advance to better gauge things and discovered that the designated booth site where the glass was to be positioned wasn’t strong enough to support the glass. Additional support soon arrived following the construction of a three-ton steel support flown in and placed along the floor to allow the glass to safely stand up.
Upon its arrival in Denver, the trucking company seele had hired was on hand to pick up the glass and transport it directly to the Convention Center. More special equipment was necessary as the large work crew assembled pulled directly into the convention center’s big hall before gently lifting the glass from the flatbed truck and placing it in its new home for the next few days.
seele’s overall shipping bill for the glass came to roughly $60,000, Arian said. But it proved its worth in gold as the rarely-seen glass product was among the biggest hits of the 2013 AIA Convention, wowing all those who came upon it.
Arian hoped to keep the glass in the U.S. so as to more easily showcase at future events, but finding a specifically-fitted warehouse willing to take such an expensive, yet fragile product proved difficult. seele finally reached a deal with a California warehouse to house the glass product.
Arian, however, promises that it won’t stay there forever.
“It doesn’t do us any good sitting in a warehouse,” he says.
The addition of seele’s new autoclave in Gersthofen means that – since January 2013 – it has been possible for the company to produce lites of laminated glass in sizes up to 17 x 4.5m – the world’s largest (55.8 by 14.8 feet).
The shear-resistant laminated glass marketed exclusively by seele under the name of glascobond® is the only product of this type on the market.