Heavydrive returns to the Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg


The next phase of construction on the world-famous St. Petersburg Lakhta Center has begun. Construction of the tower, multi-purpose building, curved structures and a stylobate is complete, and now the project is being expanded to include an additional building complex. Heavydrive’s Russian branch in St. Petersburg supplied the special systems for the assembly of the 1.8 tonne façade elements.


The challenge of this project was to install glass panes measuring from 1.8m x 1.2m up to 6.5m x 3.2m under a 3m deep overhang in a tilted position – not to mention the frosty sub-zero temperatures. The Russian Heavydrive experts were on site to advise the customer about the optimal assembly devices. Overnight, the team delivered a VSG 3000 counterweight traverse with an adapted vacuum suction system from the new warehouse in St. Petersburg to the construction site. Due to the icy temperatures, they also provided the VSGW 2000 KMH winter system.

Expansion of Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg (Russia) Image rights: Heavydrive.com

The system has four adjustable suction arms that can be adapted to different pane sizes, and each suction pad can be individually isolated. With the help of the counterweight traverse, the operator can remotely balance the weight of a glass element weighing up to 1.8 tonnes, and manoeuvre it safely and with millimetre precision under the 3m overhang into the opening. Because the system can be tilted by 90 degrees and rotated by 360 degrees, it can easily deal with the tilt of the façade.


The special 4-point suspension of the single counterweight enables the traverse to be set to a static position. This prevents the system from swaying when the rotation function is activated and avoids damaging other panes. The system was developed by Heavydrive so that panes could be turned and corrected even in their end position.


The customer in St. Petersburg benefits from personal, on-site service. Heavydrive technicians are always available to help with questions or problems and can be on the construction site within 30 minutes. ‘The demand for Heavydrive systems in Russia is continuing to grow. Thanks to our on-site personnel and our new, larger warehouse, we can now assist Russian clients in person, deliver devices more quickly and handle bureaucratic processes more easily’, says Heavydrive managing director Guenter Uebelacker.

Precise installation of panes under a 3m deep overhang in a tilted position Image rights: Heavydrive.com
Assembly of panes weighing up to 1.8 tonnes with Heavydrive suction systems and counterweight traverses Image rights: Heavydrive.com

The Lakhta Center is a modern business centre in the Primorsky district of St. Petersburg. The multi-purpose area features offices, a conference centre, a planetarium, sports and leisure facilities, restaurants and cafés, and shops. At the centre of the architectural concept is Europe’s current tallest building, the 462m-tall Lakhta Tower, which opened in 2018.

Heavydrive’s systems were also used in the assembly of façades on the Lakhta Tower. Heavydrive experts worked with the customer for more than three years to find the perfect assembly solution for this difficult project. Based on their successful partnership, the same construction and assembly firm was hired for the expansion of the complex. The new complex will open in 2021. When complete, the Lakhta Center site will be around 570,000sqm.

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