Heavydrive celebrates its 15-year anniversary
For the last 15 years, Heavydrive has offered transport and assembly solutions for all types of glass elements. More recently, the Tapfheim-based company has set its focus on large-scale international projects, global expansion and digital restructuring.
As experts in complicated assembly of extremely large and heavy glass elements, the company’s know-how and special devices have been in demand globally in many construction projects in recent years. Among other projects, the company was involved in the Elbe Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg (2017), the Etihad Museum in Dubai (2018), St. Jakobshalle in Basel (2019) and the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt (2019)"I am delighted to have been part of many exciting international projects over the years, especially since some of those were follow-up orders for satisfied customers”, managing director Günter Übelacker remarks.For instance, Heavydrive’s systems were redeployed in 2020 at the Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg after having fitted façade elements in the conference centre previously in 2016.
New subsidiaries and innovative developments
With growing global demand for Heavydrive systems, the company began its international expansion in 2018, establishing subsidiaries in Freienbach (Switzerland), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), St. Petersburg (Russia) and Atlanta (USA). This allows the company to offer international customers face-to-face advice and fast device delivery from on-site warehouses.
Heavydrive’s fleet of machinery has also expanded in the last few years. As well as developing systems with a large lifting capacity such as the VSG STU 2000 K 7-axis manipulator, the company also introduced small, practical assembly aides to the market such as the off-road-friendly
Complete digitalisation of the company
In 2019 Heavydrive began a digital transformation. This included complete modernisation of the company’s technology, such as a new server structure, a new Enterprise Resource Planning system, and linking international subsidiaries and logistics partners to the network. In addition, GPS tracking enables constant tracing of deliveries in real-time anywhere in the world, and all Heavydrive technicians have a tablet so that they are constantly connected and have access to customer orders etc. “Digitalisation makes our operations quicker and easier. Our digital restructuring was also a great advantage for us when the coronavirus pandemic occurred in 2020, as we were already set up to work from home and advise customers via the Heavydrive app video calling service”, Günter Übelacker explains.Heavydrive has also developed digital services for customers, such as the Heavydrive app, the digital device finder and a video calling service.
From brilliant idea to success story
In February 2006, Günter Übelacker founded his company, Heavydrive, in Pfreimd in the region of Oberpfalz with just two employees. The mechanical engineer started the company with one pivotal idea: at that time, mini crawler cranes on the transport and lifting market were able to lift and position loads. What they could not do was drive while carrying a load. So Übelacker developed a lightweight, stable transportation device and the HDL product line was born. Demand was tremendous; the patented HDL glass transport wagon made the company a global market leader within just a few years.
Over the years, Heavydrive continued to expand its fleet of machinery to various mini crawler cranes (MRK), vacuum suction systems (VSG), counterweight traverses (VSG Konter), glass assembly devices (GMG), motor chain hoists (MKZ), glass transport wagons (HDL) and assembly cranes (ML). The company also rented out all-terrain telescopic forklift trucks (GTS) and lifting platforms (GTB and SB). When developing new systems, Heavydrive focused increasingly on assembly solutions for extremely large and heavy façade elements. Heavydrive also expanded its services with increased involvement in large-scale projects. As well as selling devices and renting them with the option of an operator, customers also received a thorough consultation in the planning phase as well as a customised assembly solution tailored to their construction site situation.
Heavydrive quickly secured a foothold in the industry thanks to its customised assembly and transportation solutions for any construction site situation anywhere in the world. Increasing demand called for expansion of the headquarters. In 2010, the company moved to a 10,000 square metre factory premises in Donauwörth. The company moved again in 2016 to its current, 18,000 square metre headquarters in Tapfheim where they carry out professional machine servicing and customisation. This includes accident prevention testing, separate cleaning areas for large and small devices, a welding and paint workshop, and a special test area to check the suction capacity of devices. Heavydrive currently offers assembly devices for glass elements weighing up to 10 tonnes.