Frequently Asked Questions / Vacuum Lifters and Overhead Cranes :
How much weight can a Vacuum Lifter Handle ?
It depends upon how porous the object is. For instance, for a completely non-porous object like a sheet of steel or glass, we can go as high as 600 lbs or more. For a very porous object like a woven polypropylene bag of edible beans, 110 pounds is about as high as we can go.
How quickly can the system work ? Will it slow down our workers ?
When speed and volume of work performed in a given time is a factor, then it is very important for us to choose the right system, the right tooling, (suction cup assembly), and most importantly the right overhead crane for the application.
In a classic application of taking product off the end of a conveyor and stacking it to a pallet, 6 to 8 moves a minute would be a typical pace when using a Vacuum Lifter when the product weighs around 100 pounds. With product weighing less than 50 pounds, the system can usually work a little faster. In some cases we have been able to design the systems to move multiples pieces at one time, or even a whole layer of product at one time.
Can a system be designed to move multiples ?
Will a Vacuum Lifter work on my product ?
We lead the industry in designing customized toolings to fit all sorts of different product types. Can we build one to fit your product ? We probably can, but what we prefer to do is get a sample of your actual product, bring it into our shop, experiment with it, and see if we have a tooling, or can build a tooling to attach to and lift your product.
Can we try out a “Demo” system before we decide whether or not to make a purchase ?
Yes. We can either bring a small “Demo” system into your plant and set it up for an hour or more and let you and your workers try it out and see how it works. Also, customers can come to us and watch their system work as well.
How much does a system cost ?
On the low end, a Vacuum Lifter along with a small Jib Crane and a Standard Tooling can be Purchased complete with installation for a little under $ 10,000. On the High end, a Vacuum Lifter along with a large Bridge Crane and a Custom Built Tooling would go for around $ 20,000 complete with installation. Most systems we sell cost in the neighborhood of $ 15,000.
How long does installation take ?
In most cases we are able to completely install a system in one day. We also do installations on weekends, or after hours for no extra charge.
What is the lead time on a system ?
Three to Four weeks.
Does the Vacuum Lifter ever drop product ?
In almost all applications, once the Vacuum Lifter is attached to the product, it will not let go of it until the worker releases the control handle. Even if electric power is cut off to the system, to Vacuum Lifter will slowly lower the product to the floor without dropping it.
How does the Vacuum Lifter work ?
It is really quite simple. An electric motor drives the Vacuum Pump. Vacuum Supply Hose is ran from the Vacuum Pump up to the Crane to the Vacuum Hoist itself. The worker then uses the control handle at the bottom of the Vacuum Hoist to maneuver the system.
What type of overhead Crane works the best ?
When speed is not an issue, and the work area is small, an inexpensive Jib Crane will work fine. If speed is an issue, and/or the work area is large a Bridge Crane is preferred.
Can the Overhead Crane be suspended from our ceiling so that we do not have the Mast or the Legs of the Crane in our way ?
Yes, we can put in a ceiling mounted crane. We encourage our customers to check with one of their building engineers to get company approval to suspend a Crane from their ceiling structure.
What is used to suspend the Crane ?
We use 5/8” threaded rod to hang it, and either 1” pipe or angle iron to provide sway bracing, (keeps the crane from swinging).
What are the maintenance requirements once we have a system up and running ?
Keeping the filter element clean is the single most important thing our customers can do to insure a long life for their system. We recommend blowing the filter element out with compressed air once a week, and changing the filter element once a month. For extremely dusty or corrosive environments we have special filter units designed to meet the challenge.
Other than the filter element, there really is not much to ongoing maintenance of the Vacuum Lifters. Typically, we install a unit, spend a little bit of time answering questions and helping the workers get used to the new system, and then we rarely hear from the customers. We do make a point to follow up with our customers every so often to make sure everything is still working OK.
What are the electrical requirements for the system ?
The system runs off either 3 phase high or 3 phase low power, also called 480 or 240 respectively. We recommend an electric hookup with at least 20 amps. The system will pull just under 20 amps when it is powered on and then pull a little under 10 amps while it is up and running.
We already have a Vacuum Lifter but the workers don’t want to use it. Why ?
Unfortunately this happens. There are a number or reasons why.
Often times a Vacuum Lifter will be sold along with a Jib Crane for an application where an Overhead Bridge Crane instead would work much better. The initial low purchase price of this type system makes it attractive at first. However, if the workers don’t want to use it after it is installed, it ends up being a complete waste of money.
Sometimes the tooling is not a good fit for the product being handled. This can lead to difficulty for the workers getting the suction cups to attach to the product. In extreme cases it can even lead to the product dropping from the tooling while it is being moved.
An improperly installed Crane can also make a system difficult to use. For instance, if a Crane is installed out of level, then the Vacuum Lifter will always want to roll to the low gravity end of the Crane instead of simply staying where the worker wants it to stay, like it should if the system is properly installed.
Our goal is to design and install a system that your workers want to use. We come to your facility, review the area, take measurements and discuss with you what type of Overhead Crane will work best for your application. We prefer to take product samples in order to determine what tooling works best on your product. At that point, we shoot a video for you and if you still want to proceed, we can either come in and do the demo, or you can come to us and watch it work and use the system yourself.