January 22, 1997 Wall Street Journal
Can I Put You on Hold? We’re Moving Our Offices
ATLANTA–Office moves without boxes? Ed Katz’ inventions are making that a possibility.
The 52-year-old head of Peachtree Movers Inc. several years ago was almost driven out of business by larger competitors. So, he puzzled over customers’ most common complaint–the packing and unpacking of boxes and the disruption they bring, even for a move of only a few miles.
Soon Mr. Katz had invented the “space gobbler” and “spider crane,” products that eliminate the need to pack and unload. “Businesses can work up until the time of the move,” says Mr. Katz, “and come to work after the move with everything in place.”
Here’s how the machines work: The spider crane moves lateral file cabinets fully loaded by lifting the files high enough with suction to roll a specially designed steel dolly underneath. Cabinets lifted straight up by suction suffer no torque damage and eliminate the possibility of mixing up or losing files.
Office-furniture giant Steelcase Inc., which voids file-cabinet warranties if they are moved loaded, is making an exception for files moved with the spider crane after testing it with a fully loaded five-drawer cabinet weighting 1,000 pounds. “It’s almost impossible to drop the file or damage it with the spider crane,” says Frank Doezema, Steelcase product manager.
The space gobbler, meanwhile, offers similar relief from loading and unloading desks. Using plastic air bags inflated at the office with portable blowers, movers can essentially shrink-wrap a desk–and its belongings–keeping all the contents in place.
MCI Communications’ Atlanta-area office uses Peachtree Movers weekly. “We can’t afford the downtime,” says Greg Mueller, MCI project coordinator. “Moves that took two or three days are now done in one day.”
— Monica Langley