It’s not Skyfall, but it’s got a Sky Pool – the Embassy Gardens development in London has a bit of James Bond about it, so why should it not be built by a robot?
The James Bond feel comes from the fact that the 2,000 homes that make up Embassy Gardens are in orbit around the new US Embassy in Nine Elms.
The robot comes from Hird Group. The glass equipment hire company has sent one of its Winlet glazing robots on a mission – to make glass installation at the stunning development as safe and productive as possible. Sorry James, no car chases and chaos here.
Glazing robots – high tech response
Embassy Gardens does, however, have that Sky Pool – a see-through swimming pool made from 20-centimeter-thick acrylic, hanging 10 storeys up between two of the buildings on the South Bank of the River Thames, opposite Westminster.
The Winlet 785 glazing robot hired from Hird epitomises the high-tech response building contractors have taken to the demands placed on them by both architects and property developers, says Hird Director John Wilding.
He added: “These are highly complex construction sites, which are being worked on intensively to meet developer demands for inner-city luxury home complexes to be erected, marketed and sold as quickly as possible.
“Delays cost money which could be disastrous. Therefore, building systems that allow construction teams to work flexibly and continuously in the same space are key to the construction process. The Winlet glazing robot is very much part of that story.”
Vacuum lifting – new architecture
The other issue is the sheer weight and scale of the glazing elements now being used to construct what are, to a large extent, glass buildings, with a steel skeleton, combined with glass reinforced concrete (GRC) panels to create just the right amount of privacy.
Wilding said: “Architectural glass is very much in vogue. It is now highly thermally efficient, tough, and elegant. However, it has to be thick to provide security and be shock resistance, not least because of the threat of terrorist attack.”
Especially within a baseball pitch of the US Embassy, itself the most secure diplomatic HQ in the world.
Winlet glazing robots were used to help build the embassy as well. Now the advanced glass lifting technology is, panel by panel, creating the homes, gyms, spas, and luxury eateries where many of the diplomats with live and play.
Manual handling minimised
The Winlet 785 glazing robot is ultra-compact but can carry a startlingly large sheet of glass, or GRC panel for that matter. It’s four vacuum pads can lift up to 785kg.
But not just that, the glazing robot can then manipulate with complete precision – even lifting the panel up to 3.9 meters and presenting it horizontally directly overhead.
A clever gyroscopic system keeps the glazing panel in the same plane as it is lifting up and down, or moved from side to side, minimising the need for manual handling.
So, while other glazing robots need teams of up to four operatives to support the glass installation process, the Winlet can be operated with as few as two, and that includes the person at the controls.
Glazing robots – double productivity
Experience has shown that using Winlet glazing robots can double productivity. Meanwhile safe glass handling is enhanced by dual vacuum valves that stay open even if, by very slim chance, the suction system fails, so the glass load will not drop.
Winlet glazing robots have been hailed as a “game changer” and one of the biggest steps forward in glass installation in over a decade by our clients.
So Winlet is right up there as an innovation in the curtain walling industry. Okay, it might not be a Sky Pool. But it’s pretty “goddamn” impressive. As the Americans would say.
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