How does a vacuum lifter work?

How does a vacuum lifter work?

Vacuum lifters can lift materials and components that have a flat or smooth surface. You can adapt them to suit the application. This makes them ideal to use in many industries.

Deciding on what material handling equipment you need can be tough.

Industrial manipulators are an established form of lifting equipment but may not be the best solution for your material handling problem.

Vacuum lifters can be the most effective and ergonomic solution, but it is important to understand how they work so you can make an informed decision.

What is a vacuum lifter?

The clue is in the name Vacuum lifters use a vacuum to grip and lift various load types. It is a simple system consisting of a vacuum pump connected by a hose to a lifting tube with a suction head and suction foot (known as suction cups or vacuum pads) at the end of the lifting tube. These are the contacts that hold the load.

Suction feet come in various shapes and can be used as a single or multiple options to suit the lifting operation. When they touch the load, the airflow is blocked and an airtight seal is formed, causing the vacuum level to increase until the load is secure and can be gripped and lifted confidently and safely throughout the handling process.

An example of a vacuum lifter's suction feet
An example of suction feet for a vacuum lifter

Vacuum Lifting Beams

Multiple suction feet built into a specialist frame are known as a vacuum lifting beam. This beam is suspended from an overhead crane and a chain hoist is used to allow movement of the load on a vertical axis.

This material handling equipment is perfect for lifting large glass panels. The suction feet offer multiple places for the load to attach which can allow large safe working loads.

An example of a vacuum lifting bean
An example of a vacuum lifter beam

Vacuum Tube Lifters

A vacuum tube lifter is an excellent system to use as material handling equipment, as it feels weightless and can be used by a single operator.

They remove the need for chain hoists or manipulators. They have a protective sleeve around the lifting system and provide smooth, one-handed operation. A JIB crane suspends the tube lifter and provides added horizontal travel allowing the worker to extend their reach, whilst the lifting system supports the weight.

Why is a vacuum lifter used?

Vacuum lifters can help increase productivity while offering an ergonomic solution to your material handling needs. They grip, support, lift and lower the load with single operator control. This operation is fast and smooth, making it ideal for repetitive handling tasks. Material handling equipment that can bear the burden of manual handling from the operator will improve the health and safety of workers and reduce workplace injuries.

Using suction feet allows components to be lifted without damage to the surface or edges of the products often caused by manual lifts or grippers. This makes it ideal for industries that produce panels, boards, sheets, white goods, door or glass windows.

They are a cost-effective solution. Vacuum lifters are low maintenance and when they are serviced, downtime and disruption are reduced, which improves production line efficiency.

You can choose to remove the burden of maintaining your handling equipment with a Handling Concepts service plan to keep your lifting equipment safe, compliant, and functioning. Find out more on our spares & service page.

An example of a vacuum tube lifter in use
An example of a vacuum tube lifter in use

Is a vacuum lifter right for you?

Vacuum lifters are becoming the handling equipment of choice for applications in which single operator material handling of repetitive and heavy loads is required. These systems are used by many large manufacturers, yet their affordable pricing has made them a practical tool for any business.

Selecting the vacuum lifter that will most efficiently meet your load lifting requirements will increase your productivity and offer a safer working environment.

Handling Concepts is committed to providing outstanding, professional customer service and will work with you to understand your requirements and recommend a solution that fits your needs and your constraints.

Contact us today and we will help you understand if a vacuum lifter is the material handling solution for you.

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