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Safety Measures For Vacuum Crane Lifts

Wide pipes and concrete slabs have long been moved using construction machinery with ropes, chains, or slings attached to the bucket or stick. However, as a quicker and safer option, operators of these devices have recently turned to vacuum-lifting technology. Vacuum-based systems may boost workplace efficiency while still keeping employees safe. A great example is GRABO.


Vacuum crane lift systems are similar to the basic pick-and-place vacuum cups commonly used in commercial packaging, albeit on a much larger scale. They have several advantages over traditional handling operations. For starters, the vacuum removes the need for potentially hazardous and time-consuming lifting devices such as hooks, slings, and chains. Without the use of wires and chains, there is less downtime between lifts and quicker load and unload cycles since there are no cables or chains to connect and unhook. Second, the vacuum crane lift system guarantees a strong positive load commitment, while slings and chains can move or loosen, putting employees at risk. It also decreases or removes the need for tag-line operators to carry and direct the load on the ground. 

Personnel is effectively removed from the work zone when a vacuum Crane lift is used. The operator now has complete control over the product, not only in terms of lifting but also in terms of placing and manipulating it. In less than a minute, he places the material where it belongs and returns it for the next piece.


Safety guidelines

  • Support the weight of the lifter and load.

  • Be sure to subtract the weight of the lifter from the crane or hoist capacity when calculating the actual net capacity of the system.

  • Use a safety latch on your crane hook to hold your lifter.

  • Use lifter only on non-porous and slightly porous, smooth loads. The degree of porosity/roughness affects the lifter's ability to make up for air leakage. All loads should be tested to determine the maximum achievable vacuum level.

  • Refer to the lifter specifications to determine at what vacuum level the lifter is rated.

  • De-rate load capacity by 3.5% for every 1000 ft. of elevation above sea level.

  • Use lifter only on clean loads; brush off loose debris, dirt, scale, chips, etc.

  • Do not use lifter on badly rusted, pitted, or scaled loads.

  • Never lift loads heavier than rated lifting capacity.

  • Do not use lifter on loads beyond recommended length and width for your application. Consult ASE website steel plate weight calculator for recommended load overhang tables.

  • Do not lift more than one workpiece at a time. If sheets stick together, place the load down immediately and separate sheets before lifting.

  • Use lifter only as a lifting and handling tool.

  • Use lifter only for horizontal lifting and free overhead transport.

  • Do not use a lifter to drag loads over floors.

  • Use the handlebars to position the lifter and guide the load.

  • Do not push or pull the load with your hands on the load.

  • When adjusting Crossarms and pads, keep vacuum lines free of twists and kinks. Do not pinch the vacuum lines.

  • Do not lift loads higher than necessary.

  • Perform a preliminary list of a few inches to establish that a vacuum lifting device has been correctly applied and that a stable lifting vacuum level exists.

  • Accelerate and decelerate loads smoothly.

  • Avoid contact of loads with obstructions.

  • Do not tilt any load more than 15 degrees from horizontal unless the unit has been designed for tilting.

  • Never tilt wet or oily loads.

  • Always allow extra workspace around load when using a tilting lifter. Tilted loads can slide or tumble if they become detached.

  • Be sure to let those near you know that a lift is about to begin.

  • Always stay clear of the load. Do not place feet or hands under the load.

  • Keep face and body away from lifter or load in case of accidental release.

  • Make sure that every person operating the lifter has read and understands the operating instructions, which are printed in this manual and on the side of each lifter.

  • The operator must respond to signals from appointed persons.

  • Do not ride or allow others to ride suspended load or enter restricted spaces adjacent to the lifting operation.

  • Do not keep loads suspended for unnecessarily long periods, such as during coffee or lunch breaks or another work stoppage.

  • Do keep loads suspended unattended.

  • Do not lift loads over people.

  • Do not stand under suspended loads.


Crane maintenance

Cranes, like all heavy machinery on a job site, need to be inspected and maintained regularly to ensure that they are safe to use. Maintenance guidelines are given by the manufacturers, and OSHA regulations must also be followed.

Check the inspection and repair reports for the crane you'll be using to make sure everything is up to date. This logbook should be kept up to date at all times and should contain information about the equipment's maintenance, repairs, and other specifics. An analysis of the crane's logbook should reveal the crane's current state.

  • Maintenance Standards: In addition to current documents, it's important to review maintenance recommendations and requirements to ensure that the schedule is adhered to.

  • Operator Qualifications: Not only must the crane be in good working order, but the operator must also be qualified in all aspects of crane operation, including the equipment's practical limitations.

  • How will the crane be used on the construction site? It's essential to assess equipment used to ensure that the correct crane is being used for the job at hand.