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Work more efficiently with vacuum lift systems

Vacuum lifter

Did you know that the implementation of vacuum lifting equipment in your operations can save you both time and money? This article explores the benefits of assisted lifting in general and vacuum lifters in particular.

What is a vacuum lifter and how does it work?

Vacuum lifters use vacuum technology to grip and lift various types of loads. The system consists of a vacuum pump, connected by an air hose to a lifting tube. At the end of the lifting tube are the suction head and the suction foot which will hold the load. Suction feet come in various shapes and sizes, adapted for the load you need to lift. The suction foot or suction cups create an air-tight seal between the load and the lifter. This ensures a safe grip of the load throughout the handling process.

A vacuum pump or ejector pump is used to create vacuum between the suction cups and the workpiece. The operator can easily adjust lifting height by regulating the vacuum level through a control handle. This type of suction lifting is safe and gentle on both operator and goods.

“The suction cups grip and hold the load securely without damaging it, and the operator can safely lift heavy loads without physical strain.”


Air-tight seal will ensure a safe grip

As mentioned above, vacuum lifting machines use different types of suction cups or suction feet depending on the type of load. A solid box or carton is easily gripped with one or more small suction cups, normally sealed by a rubber gasket. Bags and other more porous loads normally require a larger suction foot. For these types of porous loads, the suction foot is often accompanied by a rubber skirt to ensure an air-tight seal. Sealing is important because the more you can minimize leakage, the stronger the vacuum lifter will be. When lifting porous loads, a higher flow from the vacuum pump compensates for air leakage and ensures a safe grip.

Overhead cranes for safe suspension

Handheld vacuum lifters are normally suspended from an overhead crane system. Depending on the design of the crane system, this allows the operator to use the vacuum lifter within a limited area. TAWI crane system can be designed to allow lifting within a larger or smaller area. For smaller facilities where the lifter only needs to be used in a limited workspace, a jib crane is often sufficient and a cost-efficient alternative for suspending the vacuum lifter.

Person lifting bag of flour using a vacuum lifter suspended in overhead crane

Vacuum lifter price and installation

Before investing in a vacuum lifting system, it is wise to test the equipment on the actual loads to be lifted and to perform an assessment of the physical layout of the shop floor area into which the equipment will be installed. This will ensure that the lift system will meet your needs and requirements. As pointed out by HSE here, companies should not change the use of their vacuum lifting equipment without prior consultation with the suppliers of the equipment. TAWI will guide you through the process to guarantee safe use of the equipment in your facilities. Installation will be carried out by TAWI technicians. The price of a vacuum lifting machine varies a lot depending on what the system should lift. Contact TAWI to get a quotation on a vacuum lift system suitable for your needs.

How to use a vacuum lifter | step-by-step guide

Using a handheld vacuum lifter is easier than you would expect. A brief 5-minute training will be more than enough to get the hang of lifting with vacuum.

  1. Start the vacuum pump.
  2. Make sure the suction cups are firmly placed on the object you need to lift. When you have achieved an air-tight seal between suction cups and workload the vacuum pump will start elevating the load.
  3. You can now easily lift and lower your load by adjusting the lever on the handle. Lift and move the load to where you need it, if needed rotate the load to place it in position.
  4. Adjust the lever on the handle to lower the load when placed in correct position.
  5. Finally release the load by tilting the suction foot to break the air-tight seal.

When using a vacuum lifter, always make sure that the load is positioned straight below the lift tube. Do not bend the lift tube. In case of power failure, a safety valve will automatically close to ensure vacuum is maintained within the lift tube. This safety feature guarantees that the load will not be dropped, even if power is cut.

Savings from vacuum powered lifting

Vacuum lift systems come with a bunch of benefits for both businesses and people. A vacuum lifter will basically eliminate the weight of any load, making lifting effortless.

“One single employee can easily lift a total of 10,000 lbs in one shift. And they can leave their shift without a sore muscle in their body”

This will make employees happy, but it can also save companies from costly insurance claims and cost of sick leave.

When lifting is effortless, this also means that anyone can lift. Companies no longer need to depend on the big strong guy to do the heavy lifting. Anyone can lift, no matter their size, strength, age or gender. This helps improve workforce flexibility, diversity, and retention.

In addition to the soft values mentioned above, vacuum assisted lifting also has the potential of increasing efficiency and productivity. Vacuum lifters will enable workers to lift more in less time, it will reduce downtime when workers need to rest between lifts, or due to injury caused by repetitive lifting.

Flexible solutions for efficient logistics

Traditionally, vacuum lifters have been suspended in a fixed crane system, allowing the lifter to be used only in a limited workspace. In large facilities, multiple vacuum lifters are often implemented to cover multiple workstations. Different types of overhead cranes or jib cranes are used depending on the level of mobility needed.

With the growing e-commerce we now see more and more large-scale warehouses where goods are picked before being shipped off all over the globe.

“Large warehouses or logistic centers require extremely time- and cost-efficient handling of goods. TAWI has developed a mobile vacuum lifter which enables high-speed order picking in these facilities”

With the vacuum lifter attached to a forklift, workers can easily move from pallet rack to pallet rack and pick goods on pallets with minimal effort. This type of vacuum powered order picker will save time and money, minimizing both worker injuries and damaged goods.


Learn more about: Vacuum lifters | Vacuum order pickers | Crane systems

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