After decades of risking work-related injuries by installing vehicle windshields, Rich Brummett knew there had to be a better option than just brute strength.
After a lot of tinkering and pairing up with former ergonomics consultant Doug Rasmussen, the two Tazewell County natives developed a remote-controlled hoist system that may be the solution Brummett was trying to find.
The hoist system, called ZG3, mounts to the back of a van or can mount overhead in a garage. Glass installers are able to use the hoist to attach to the windshield and hold the weight. Remote controls mounted on suction cup handles allow the installer to guide the windshield into place at exactly the precise angle for a proper install, Brummett said.
“ZG3 can set just about any windshield on any vehicle with one installer,” Brummett said. “It’s a fast and easy system to set up with minimum measuring and it allows the installer to set the glass properly and quickly, and be ready to move on to the next job.”
The ZG3 system is the heart of the men’s auto glass replacement company, ZGlass,
25232 Spring Creek Road in Washington, which opened this month.
The men said they wanted to start their new businesses in Washington to be a part of the city as it moves forward in rebuilding from the Nov. 17, 2013, tornado.
Brummett and Rasmussen have a patent pending on the hoist system.
They have been working for months with Neff Power, a manufacturer in St. Louis to produce the ZG3 systems which will be market ready by early 2015. The cost of the hoist system can run from $15,000-$18,000.
Rasmussen said the cost of the system in the long-run is little compared to worker’s compensation claims and insurance rates for auto glass companies.
“Rich carries tremendous battle scars and that’s typical of auto glass installers,” Rasmussen said. “Auto glass installers have a four- to 10-times higher rate of injury than most occupations.”
An average 4-foot car windshield can weigh between 35 and 50 pounds. To properly maneuver the glass into place, Rasmussen said it typically takes two installers. It’s awkward for one installer to manage by themselves, he said.
“But that’s expensive for companies who do on-site installs because you are paying two people to travel to a job and the amount of work for the second person is about a minute during the install,” Rasmussen said.
A few glass installation companies use a frame that mounts to the side window, putting pressure on power window mechanisms that they were not meant to handle, Rasmussen said.
“This system does not attach to the vehicle being repaired so there is no risk of damage to the customer’s car,” Rasmussen added.
And Brummett said the ZG3 system allows the windshield to be set properly which keeps the vehicle as safe as originally designed.
“Industry experts estimate that 70 percent of windshields are not installed properly,” Brummett said. “The windshield is an important structural part of the car. If the windshield pops out in a crash, air bags don’t deploy properly and in rollovers, the glass helps maintain the integrity of the roof.”
The pair said they have already had interest in the ZG3 system from area auto glass installation companies. They hope to bring the ZG3 to an auto glass replacement trade show in April.
To contact ZGlass, the auto glass replacement business, and ZG3, the hoist system, call at 745-3398.