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The most frequently used vacuum handling method for lifting and moving a load is the horizontal vacuum handling method. This method of handling mostly takes place in combination with an overhead crane, gantry crane, mobile crane, loader, excavator or forklift.
Metal handling using vacuum technology
A crude steel slab is heavy and can be as hot as 450°C. While still in the production plant (blast furnace) the crude slabs are processed into sheet metal or coils. Transporting the crude steel slabs to the processing station is a form of horizontal handling whereby vacuum technology can assist. Other products which are most often moved using horizontal handling techniques are sheet metal and piping.
Handling precast concrete products
Vacuum handling has been used in the precast concrete industry for many years. Think of handling wall sections, floor slabs, hollow-core slabs, beam elements, concrete piles, tiles and concrete railway sleepers.
Vacuum technology is highly suited to handle concrete. For example, you no longer need to install temporary anchors or lifting irons for demoulding, leaving the load fully intact. Using vacuum technology you can demould as well as relocate concrete objects. Depending on the operational environment, a concrete element can be turned 90° or 180° while suspended in the air. For example, when handling staircases. Staircases are always moulded face down (steps pointing down). To be able to assemble the components they must be turned first.
Assembly work on large-scale construction projects
A vacuum lifter supplied by Aerolift in combination with a crane has in the past been used in the construction of stadiums. The vacuum lifter was especially developed for handling the sections of the grandstand. The grandstand sections were lifted from the centre spot with the aid of a vacuum lifter working in tandem with a heavy-duty crane, and moved to the designated places in the stadium. The actual assembly of the sections was completed by a crew of only five persons. As a result, the operation was finished with less manpower than planned, and the stadium was completed three months ahead of schedule. An achievement, made possible by the highly efficient construction system using vacuum technology!
Horizontal vacuum handling method for loading and unloading
Other examples of horizontal vacuum handling methods can be seen at work in transhipment. Examples are the loading and unloading of semi-trailers and logistical operations involving the loading and unloading of sheet metal, steel and piping from train wagons, ships’ holds and even containers.