First Look: Vacuworx’ MC Designed For Utility Construction Markets

April 2009 Vol. 64 No. 4

Vacuworx International has introduced a vacuum device designed specifically for utility construction applications. It is expected to be widely used for handling and positioning pipe, but also can lift many other types of material.

The MC or "mini" model was unveiled at the 2009 UCT (Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition) last January in San Antonio and became available in March.

Using a powerful vacuum force, the MC model can lift to load, unload and position most types of pipe used on underground utility construction projects, including HDPE, PVC, ductile iron, steel, clay and concrete, said Shawn Lowman, Vacuworx director of sales and marketing.

"The suction force of the MC," said Lowman, "securely holds material, eliminating the need to strap or chain pipe to the lifting boom, preventing material or coating damage that can be caused by other lifting methods."

With a four ton lifting capacity, the MC's usefulness isn't limited to pipe, Lowman added. It also can be used for lifting plates, slabs, boxes and other materials, both on the job and in warehouses or other inside facilities.

Components

The lifting unit has its own self contained engine and hydraulic system and can be mounted on an excavator, backhoe, wheel loader, forklift, boom truck or other types of equipment routinely found on construction sites. It can be pinned to an excavator; it has fork pockets for fork lifts and loaders, or is available with a picking eye for a crane or knuckle boom-type truck . The host equipment needs to have the capacity to accommodate the load to be lifted and the weight of the lifter which is approximately 800 pounds.

The MC design is based on proven technology of larger Vacuworx models used in the pipeline and general construction for the past 10 years. Basic components are the main beam and reservoir, small displacement, one cylinder gasoline engine, vacuum pump, vacuum valve, hydraulic system, rotator and vacuum pad. The operator controls the unit with a closed frequency wireless remote.

“We believe this product will truly revolutionize material handling on utility projects," said Lowman. "Utility contractors will use it in the load/unload cycles, stringing pipe, lowering it into the trench and joining the pipe once in the trench. Work can be completed faster, safer and with fewer employees. It can eliminate the need for personnel to get in a trench to place or join pipe.

Lowman said the model MC is available for sale or lease directly through Vacuworx or authorized dealers.