6 Material Types Well Suited for Vacuworx Lifting Systems

A safer way to handle oil and gas pipe originally helped give rise to the popularity of and credence in Vacuworx lifting systems for use in heavy-duty material handling scenarios. Here are six material types well suited for Vacuworx lifting systems today.

The original line of vacuum lifting equipment has expanded greatly since our launch in 1999, running parallel with calls for faster, safer and smarter lifting solutions by handlers of pipe and others operating in engineering, construction and manufacturing centered trades.

Today, Vacuworx offers versatile material handling solutions on a global scale—touching multiple segments of the oil and gas pipeline construction, utility infrastructure, steel fabrication, precast concrete, civil construction, hardscape and quarry, and concrete renovation industries.

Diversification in terms of product types and geographic locations has been built on previous successes with new innovations allowing for greater lift capacities, and further development of vacuum pad technologies to handle an array of cylindrical, flat, and even non-uniform shaped objects or materials.

Vacuum lifting has been built into an industry.

Here are six product and material types that can be handled effectively using Vacuworx lifting systems, including citations of specific examples and recent case studies showing how the machines are being used to help achieve successful outcomes for projects both large and small.



The first Vacuworx machines were built with the sole focus of creating a safe way to handle pipe. Vacuworx lifting systems, put to work in the oil and gas sector, were demonstrated and confirmed in the field as a reliable method of handling not only oil and gas pipe, but virtually and type of pipe or non-porous material.

Flagship RC Series lifters are commonly used in conjunction with heavy equipment such a track-type excavators or cranes. With the capability of handling pipe joints with a diameter of 4 in and up with no maximum size limit, you can find them at pipe mills, laydown yards, storage facilities and other staging areas. They are often found working on right of ways to help develop energy pipelines, as well as handling pipe for water and water sanitation projects, mining and exploration, and horizontal directional drilling (HDD) applications.

The RC Series has become nearly synonymous with safety and productivity for contemporary players in the pipe manufacturing and pipe handling trades. With lifting capacities ranging from 22,000 lb to 55,000 lb, and customizable up to 100,000 lb, it is an all-around vacuum lifting workhorse. Specially formulated pad seal developed by Vacuworx adds to the systems’ versatility as they are engineered to handle oil and gas pipe, concrete pipe and even long pieces of extremely flexible plastic pipe.

The adoption of vacuum lifting provides for an instantaneous advantage over traditional rigging methods because the need for hooks, slings, chains or wire rope are immediately removed from the handling equation. Fewer hands and components required to mobilize a lift means there is less exposure to potential hazards when loading or offloading pipe.

Material handlers have especially come to appreciate the fact that vacuum lifting eliminates worry over the potential additional costs associated causing damage to delicate bonded coatings commonly found on steel water and gas pipe. A new case study published in World Pipelines reflects that experience as a long-time Vacuworx customer recently utilized the RC Series to handle some of heaviest large diameter QRL pipe joints they have every lifted.



Breaking concrete and removing it by hand or picking up smaller pieces using a forklift can be a laborious and slow-going process, and in many cases may require respiratory protection, especially when cutting indoors, in enclosed areas or for extended periods of time.  

Vacuworx lifting systems are well known for their utility in handling concrete and manipulating slabs in numerous capacities. The RC Series is compatible with an array of larger capacity host machines such as cranes, wheel loaders and track-type excavators, with uses ranging from large-scale in-plant industrial jobs to heavy highway construction and airport runway rehabilitation, road and bridge projects, civil engineering work, and by private contractors on numerous material-handling fronts.

More compact vacuum lifting equipment such the Vacuworx MC 3, CM 3, PS 1, PHD and SL 2 lifters may be coupled with smaller carriers and are best suited for utility work, landscaping projects and smaller interior and exterior construction jobs.

Multiple case studies have been published about how operators are using vacuum lifters to pull saw-cut slabs with greater efficiency, at the same time limiting any dependence on hammers or drills, reducing the number of required cuts, and mitigating the need to incorporate dust control measures, in some instances.

A new case, published in Construction Equipment Guide, details Mobley Contractors’ use of an MC Series lifter during their rehabilitation of 20 machinery access hatches on a Missouri bridge project. Another article covers Blade Runners’ experience with vacuum lifting, which allowed for its time commitment to be cut by more than 70 percent—when comparing use of the Vacuworx SL 2 lifter to more conventional handling methods.

The owner of Advanced Concrete Sawing has also appeared in a video to share his company’s success with PS 1 Series devices, commenting on their compatibility with carrier equipment such as skid steers for larger jobs and demolition robots in more confined interior spaces.



The CC-TT Computer Controlled Double Tee Vacuum Lifting System is one of the latest Vacuworx machines designed to safely and efficiently handle objects of monolithic proportions. In fact, the diesel-powered CC-TT is one of Vacuworx’s largest units with a lift capacity of a walloping 77,000 lb.

It is fast becoming a sought-after tool for those involved with handling precast concrete—prestressed material used widely in the design and construction of elevated parking decks and buildings such as auditoriums or swimming pools that require long clear spans.

Vacuum pads engineered for CC-TT lifters are positioned to ensure even lifting and avoidance of key stress points. A multi-function computer operated control system provides real-time operation and diagnostic information, including vacuum pressure (reservoir and pads), fuel level, battery status and other data. In can be coupled with stationary or mobile gantry cranes.

Here is a recent article via Concrete Products that covers how Tindall Corp. and Vacuworx teamed to develop a system to perform the required logistics—moving finished products and stacking them in the yard—while reducing or eliminating the need to work from elevated positions.


Steel Plate

Steel fabrication is one of the hottest markets for vacuum lifting as more pipe mills and manufacturers of steel plate come to realize the advantages associated with maintaining the units—keeping the productivity meter high in industrial situations.

Vacuworx offers in-plant lifting solutions to handle all types of steel pipe, steel plate, steel piling and various raw materials in manufacturing environments. Our standard product range is available to meet a majority of lifting needs. The systems are also highly customizable for specific materials and applications that include assembly line production and uniquely sized configurations.

A custom CM 3 Series plate lifter, as one example, has been designed to safely and efficiently load steel plate onto a laser table. It can impressively lift up to 20,000 lb (9 tonnes). To learn more about Vacuworx advantage for steel plate or other manufacturing solutions, go to vacuworx.com/pages/manufacturing.


Pavers, Granite, Landscape Materials

Vacuworx is a big hit for construction contractors, landscape professionals and others on a wide number of jobs where safety, speed, precision and the ability to work both out in the open and in confined spaces all matter.

Vacuworx equipment has helped do everything from handling road plate, granite pavers and black-painted diamond plate steel for a boutique hotel project in Manhattan, to pulling base stones and setting dozens of slabs as part of an historic $1 million renovation project to install select cuts of Missouri limestone—new steps on the South Portico of the White House.

An article and video published on ForConstructionPros.com shows the versatility of highly portable Vacuworx units such as the PHD, which was used recently by an Arkansas-based stone manufacturer to vertically maneuver and safely position large porous slabs.


Custom Fit

The versatility of vacuum lifting doesn’t conclude with the examples given above. In fact, Vacuworx lifters have been designed, engineered and customized to tackle material handling situations from dilapidated, non-uniform slabs of concrete to huge concrete culverts, the installation of galvanized steel utility distribution poles, offloading multiple pipe joints simultaneously from the deck of a ship in port, and more.

Vacuworx for more than 20 years has been working to build an industry centered on vacuum lifting technology and its proven application in the respective trades and handling scenarios. Contact our team to learn more about Vacuworx lifting systems and the types of materials they can handle, and or ask about which vacuum lifting system may be best suited for your next industry application or material handling task.


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