Vacuum lifters are a particularly efficient type of lifting machine. They allow you to move materials minus the time-consuming work of securing the load with straps, chains and hooks.
Vacuum lifters come in a variety of forms, and you need to ensure your model is fit for purpose. So let’s take a look at what vacuum lifters are, the things you should consider before making the investment, and how to choose the right one.
What are vacuum lifting machines?
Vacuum lifting machines, also known as vacuum assisted lifting devices, use the power of suction to lift and shift loads, in the same way that a vacuum cleaner can pick a piece of paper up off the ground (though purpose-built vacuum lifting machines are obviously far more powerful.)
Vacuum lifters are particularly useful in warehouses and factories, as they offer the most efficient way to complete repeat lifts. No straps, no hooks, no chains; cups simply suction onto a material like a magnet on a fridge and can be released just as easily.
There are two main types of vacuum lifting machines:
- Battery powered: Portable and powerful, battery powered lifters are ideal for ad hoc lifts around your factory or warehouse.
- Tube lifters: Permanent features designed for high use applications, tube lifters are built to handle regular lifts in a cost-effective and ergonomic way.
Vacuum lifting considerations
In order to choose the right vacuum lifter, or to understand whether a vacuum lifting machine is the right option given your situation, you should consider the following factors.
- Weight: While some vacuum lifters are capable of lifting up to 50 tonnes, the maximum lift will depend on your situation, and the wealth of other factors listed below.
- Shape: Vacuum lifting machines can handle flat and even curved surfaces (with a curved suction cup), but it can prove more difficult to achieve a suitable seal on irregularly shaped objects.
- Surface texture: The smoother the surface of the material, the better the vacuum seal, so rougher surfaces pose challenges to vacuum lifters.
- Flexibility/fragility: The powerful suction of vacuum assisted lifting devices have the potential to deform or break flexible or fragile objects.
- Space: Permanently installed vacuum lifters are large machines that demand plenty of space.
- Workflow: Consider how a vacuum lifter will fit into your workflow or production line, including the limitations such a machine would have to work within.
- Frequency of use: How and how often you’ll use your vacuum lifter will determine the specific machine you need.
- Worker safety: An investment in a vacuum lifter is an investment in your team, as these machines seriously reduce manual handling.
Customising a vacuum lifting machine to your needs
Vacuum assisted lifting devices are highly customisable pieces of equipment that can be seamlessly integrated into your workspace along with any existing material handling equipment. The more bespoke your vacuum lifter, the better its efficiency and safety, and the greater the return on your investment.
Bespoke elements of a vacuum lifter can include:
- Portability: Do you need to conduct lifts around your warehouse or factory? Portable vacuum lifters are ideal, though you’ll need to consider how they will move (by forklift, on casters, etc.) and if they’re battery-powered, the battery life you require.
- Power/cycle time: The power of the diaphragm pump will determine the maximum weight the machine is capable of lifting, and the time it takes for the suction to be strong enough to lift (called ‘cycle time’).
- Material-specific suction cups: The right suction cup ensures you can move specific materials safely and efficiently – even those with curved surfaces.
Enabling New Zealand businesses to work smarter, quicker and safer
No matter your vacuum lifting needs, at Stratalign we offer the knowledge and expertise you need to secure the most efficient, safe and clever solution for your situation. If you feel that a vacuum lifter could enhance your operations, our lifting equipment experts are ready to guide you to the perfect machine, and tailor it to your unique needs.
Speak to our team today to discover the ideal vacuum lifting solution for you.