By: Amber Grennan On: February 07, 2023 In: Blog Comments: 0

How Does a Vacuum Lifter Work?

When handling large and heavy materials manual handling is typically advised against due to impracticalities and the high potential for injury. Vacuum lifters take away the need for the majority of manual handling as once the material is attached it can then be lifted and manipulated into place. With the ability to rotate the material and hold it both vertically and horizontally the vacuum lifter presents an advantage over the limited capabilities of a person handling it.

Why is a Vacuum Lifter Used?

As stated above vacuum lifters are unbeaten in their capabilities in comparison to what a person can achieve by themselves or in a group. By providing a continuous grip on the materials there is no worry of dropping it and it can be held in place while you adjust angles or finish installing it.

The use of a vacuum lifter reduces damage to your materials by reducing the ability for human error or accidents. When handling materials manually there is a chance of the materials slipping out of hands, people tripping, or an injury occurring when moving the materials.

They also increase work productivity as fewer people are needed for handling larger materials and are typically only needed for operating the vacuum lifter/crane holding the lifter and assisting in the positioning of the materials for more precise jobs.

How Does a Vacuum Lifter Work?

A vacuum lifter will have at least one vacuum cup which is made of rubber so that it can easily mould to surfaces with a tilting ability. As the name suggests a vacuum is created through the vacuum lifter pumping the air out of the cup, so when the cup is placed against a flat surface they will stick together.

A seal is created as through the air inside the cup being removed it creates a difference in atmospheric pressure to the outside of the cup. This means the external pressure then pushes against the suction cup and sticks it to the surface.

Types of Vacuum Lifters

Depending on the materials, shapes, and textures you are working with the type of vacuum lifter you need will change. Each machine type will have different capabilities such as glass lifters only being suited for non-porous materials, but a stone lifter has the technology for lifting porous stones.

Curved and Corner Lifters

Likely one of the more unique but incredibly useful designs of vacuum lifters is curved and corner lifters. They remove the difficulty of installing awkwardly shaped glass units and rounded balustrades.

GGR Group's CladKing.

GGR Group’s CladKing.

The combined lifting power and excellent flexible swivel arms of these lifters is ideal for any glazing job that needs that extra flexibility. Some of our favourite curved vacuum lifters are the Hydraulica 2100 Curved which features a 2100kg max capacity and a 360˚ power rotation. Our Corner Lifter also appeared at Battersea Power Station to help with the installation of some corner units at the new art’otel. This was a special product that required expert lifting products for such an installation.

Smooth Glass Vacuum Lifters

Suitable for lifting glass, plastic boards, ceramic plates, sheet metals, and coated boards, smooth glass vacuum lifters are versatile in their uses, able to lift the majority of non-porous materials. Assisted by features such as hydraulic tilt for easier positioning and manual lockable rotation.

The Hydraulica 1000-B has two hydraulic rams which create seamless power tilting and a 90˚powered hydraulic tilt, which GGR Group found was perfect for manoeuvring glass under an overhang in this project. Another of our glass lifters is the strongest in our range, lifting up to 6000kg the Hydraulica 6000 is an unrivalled machine with a 360˚ electric powered rotation.

Textured Glass Vacuum Lifter

These vacuum lifters have a unique closed-cell foam seal that can mould to the textured glass panels so that a vacuum can still be formed. Suitable for lifting stippled, etched, frosted, and other textured glass these lifters are suited to a range of projects.

The Ultra-Glaze 1000 has the highest lifting capacity of our textured lifters at 1000kg with 30 specialist vacuum cups. The suction pads are individually adjustable which can be isolated for the accommodation of different panels. There is also our Multi-Glaze vacuum lifter which while smaller has a 400kg lifting capacity and has a dual circuit system for advanced safety.

Cladding Vacuum Lifter

Cladding lifters have unique vacuum cups are suited to the unique surfaces of the cladding. All the GGR Group cladding lifters are designed for use on composite sandwich panels and other non-porous materials (subject to testing).

One of our more popular models is the CladKing which offers a 320kg lifting capacity which is compatible with composite panels such as Rockspan, Paroc, Isocab, and Kingspan KS1000 series. Lift horizontal panels up to 12m in length and vertical cladding up to 18m long. The CladKing is also used in many projects such as this job in Cheshire.

GGR Group's CladKing cladding vacuum lifter.

GGR Group’s CladKing cladding vacuum lifter.

Stone Vacuum Lifter

Due to the porous nature of stone, stone vacuum lifters are designed to have a continuous pump to maintain the vacuum needed to lift it. They are suited for rough stone surfaces, concrete/stone slabs, and steel plates.

The highest-capacity stone vacuum lifter is the GSK4600 which has a capacity of 4600kg. An onboard battery pack provides the machine with a 12-hour operating cycle along with an auto cut-off pump for when it is not in use.

The MRTA611 GRC is one of our newer stone lifters which is a truly versatile machine as it is able to lift GRC panels, patterned, blasted and shattered toughened laminate, flamed, honed or polished stone slabs. Being designed for the increased usage of Glass Reinforced Concrete this is a perfect addition to any builder’s fleet. See more about this machine here.

GGR Group is the no.1 for lifting solutions with over 25 years of experience in the industry. We are always inventing new innovative technology and introducing better products to the market. If you need lifting solutions that are tailored to you contact us today by phone or clicking here.

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