Fin vacuum lifter rises to challenge at City of London tower

Hird’s unique fin lifter has been demonstrating its capabilities in a project to vacuum lift large sections of structural glass at an office block refurbishment project in the City of London.

The specialist vacuum lifter has been used to install glass panels over 6 metres long as part of a project to reshape the entrance way to the 23-storey St Helens Tower.The refurbishment programme is creating a two storey high glass wall, with incorporates the pillars of laminated glass.Hird’s fin lifter is the only vacuum lifter in the UK capable of lifting these large structural elements.

As well as the fin lifter, our curtain wall installation client commissioned one of Hird’s Maeda MC405 mini spider cranes, controlled by a Hird mini crane operator, to carry out the precision lift.

Hird is a UK leader in specialist vacuum lifter hire, and has developed particular expertise at commissioning vacuum lifters, like the fin lifter, for vital niche lifting tasks, increasingly required for the architectural design of modern structures.

The fin lifter, which has been exclusively manufactured for Hird, in accordance with our design and specification, is an adjustable vacuum lifter.

It can be operated as an 8-in-line vacuum lifter with a maximum lifting capacity of 1,320kg.

At full extension, or can be operated as a 24-in-line vacuum lifter with a length of 9 metres and a capacity of 1,800kg.

The configuration selected for the St Helens Tower lift was 16-in-line. Each glass panel was made up of six glass sheets, together making it around 15 centimetres thick.

Hird Director John Wilding, who runs the company’s glass lifting operation based at the southern operational depot in Redhill, Surrey, just south of London, said: “This shows off the impressive capability of our fin lifter perfectly.

“It also demonstrates that we can deliver the whole package, with a highly capable Maeda spider crane and the expertise of our mini crane operator to work in partnership with our client’s own glass installation team.”

The fin lifter’s performance specification includes manual 210° lockable rotation, remote tilting from vertical to horizontal, and excellent health and safety features such as dual, independent vacuum circuits, with four vacuum reserve tanks and four non-return valves.

Hird’s vacuum lifter hire service is available across the UK. For more information, call 0203 174 0658, or email

600450 Fin vacuum lifter rises to challenge at City of London tower
Date: 22 December 2015

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