Vacuum Lifters Diversify Into Multiple Material Applications

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | August 2010 Vol. 65 No. 8
A crew from Miller Pipelines unloads 56-inch O.D. concrete pipe in Mexico.

Several companies currently offer vacuum lifting equipment. Lowman said Vacuworx sets itself apart from others by being the only company that specializes in vacuum lifting equipment. Vacuworx maintains inventories of equipment and replacement parts and 24-hour service 365 days a year.

What Happens If Power Is Lost?
Vacuum lifting offers many benefits, and proponents always emphasize safety as one of the most important.

But what happens if the host machine loses power in mid-lift is the load suddenly dropped? A stored supply of vacuum prevents this from happening. Every Vacuworx lifting system is equipped with a vacuum storage reservoir, said Shawn Lowman, director of sales and marketing.

“Current safety standards require that the material must be able to be held secure under no power for 10 minutes,” he explained. “At Vacuworx we utilize a 3-to-1 safety ratio, and our systems store enough vacuum in the reservoir to suspend the material for as long as 30 minutes, depending on the type of material.”

Projects Illustrate Safety Benefits
Two unusual lifting jobs illustrate the safety benefits of vacuum lifting technology, says Shawn Lowman of Vacuworx.

One involved a load of pipe that shifted inside a barge. When movement subsided, joints of pipe settled at various angles and the danger of additional shifting posed a danger to the barge and its crew. A vacuum lifting system was brought on board and successfully unloaded the pipe.

The second example also involved a load of pipe that shifted on a truck when straps securing the load broke. A vacuum lifter simply picked each joint of pipe out of the unstable pile.

“Contractors involved in each of the scenarios had never used vacuum lifting,” says Lowman. “Both now are avid vacuum lifting proponents.”