By: Amber Grennan On: June 28, 2023 In: Case Study Comments: 0

GGR Group, the UK’s leading provider of lifting solutions, was approached by a client to solve a unique glazing challenge. The glazing project was a significant part of the up-and-coming cultural hub of Manchester, Aviva Studios (Factory International), set to open later this year. However, visitors can preview the venue between 29 June – 16 July 2023.

With an investment of more than £211m, the multi-use space is projected to bring £1.1bn into the economy over the next decade as well as 850,000 people into the city every year. Due to the significance of this project to GGR Group’s local community, we were eager to get involved and deliver on the client’s expectations.

Based on the land of the old Granada TV Studios, where the venerable TV show, Coronation Street, was filmed, the development of Factory International will be a welcomed addition to the area in continuing Manchester’s rich history in

A Sky Robot 1500 lifting glazing at Factory International, Aviva Studios.

A Sky Robot 1500 lifting glazing at Factory International, Aviva Studios.

the entertainment industry. Factory International will be the UK’s first major and permanent cultural building and will cover around 13,300m². The futuristic and challenging shape of the building was chosen as an eye-catching feature along the River Irwell with the unique glazing screens as the centrepiece of the architectural marvel.

Aviva Studios’ distinctive design pointed towards the installation of the glazing being a challenge from the beginning. This prompted the customer to request GGR Group’s services as no.1 for lifting solutions. After performing a site survey our team was able to identify all the possible obstacles and design a bespoke lift plan to successfully tackle it.

The glazing screens had a range of unique shapes with large surface areas and had the additional challenge of needing to be installed at negative angles. The 18m height of the glazing also meant the operator of the machine would need to be with the glass to precisely install it.

After assessing the project, our specialist team devised a bespoke lift plan and chose the perfect lifting solution – a first in the UK, the Sky Robot 1500. This machine has the significant feature of a fully articulating 3D head, a revolutionary feature when it comes to installing glazing in hard-to-reach places. The head is able to angle glass to both negative and positive tilts. With the fully articulating 3D head you can precisely install any glazing due to its 200mm vertical and horizontal side shift functions.

This powerful articulated machine also comes with a high-precision radio remote control so that the operator can manoeuvre the Sky Robot 1500 from any position. This glazing robot was operated by GGR Group’s own fully trained operator as well as overseen by GGR’s trained lift supervisor and slinger/signaller for lift success.

Sky Robot 1500 lifting glass.

Sky Robot 1500 lifting glass.

With GGR Group’s bespoke lift plan and innovative Sky Robot 1500, the glazing units could be installed efficiently. Due to the Sky Robot’s customised design, it was the only known machine that could complete such a complicated lift. With the max safe working load of 1500kg and the boom extended up to 18m the robot could easily manoeuvre the 1243kg heaviest units into place with the precision provided by the articulating 3D head.

GGR Group’s fully trained operator used their extensive experience in bespoke and challenging lifts to calmly tackle the difficult glass installation which required focus and a precise touch to achieve the right position. The operator made great use of the radio remote control and was able to get up close to the glazing on the access platform with the installation team. The additional safety feature of the 8 vacuum pads being on individual circuits meant in the unlikely event of 1 vacuum failing the others would continue to work. This would give the lift team more time to secure the load.

Thanks to the capabilities of the Sky Robot with its 1500kg maximum capacity and articulating 3D head the lift was completed with ease and on time. Our highly trained operator was able to utilise the Sky Robot’s amazing features such as the four-wheel drive that provided precise positioning. The articulating 3D head was paramount to the success of this lift as it was the only machine that could employ the precise angles needed for the installation.


For more information on the full range of products and services offered by GGR Group, please speak with your account manager or contact us here.

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