Building Better: Vacuum Lifting 7,000 lb Precast Concrete Balconies

According to the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, precast concrete excels in strength, functionality, and durability. It provides the resiliency needed to meet the long-term demands of high-performance structures like parking garages, office buildings, hotels, apartment complexes, and more.

Due to the substantial weight of concrete, the precast industry is aware of the importance of employing material handling methodologies that maintain efficient installation operations without sacrificing safety or damaging the product. Traditionally, this has meant using hooks, chains, and slings.  

However, advocates of vacuum lifting technology have consistently recognized the benefits of reducing risks in work environments. For more than 25 years, Vacuworx has focused on developing vacuum lifting solutions tailored to various applications and industries, including the precast, prestressed concrete sector. 

Vacuum Lifting Provides an Improved Process

FINFROCK, headquartered in Florida, is a design-build firm overseeing the entire building process from initial concept to final completion. With in-house expertise in architecture, engineering, precast concrete manufacturing, and construction, they offer seamless coordination and quality control.

Currently, they are constructing The CenterPointe Apartments – a new 401-unit luxury multifamily project in Altamonte Springs, Florida – built entirely out of precast concrete. With a legacy spanning over 75 years, FINFROCK understands the importance of continual advancement and innovation to maintain their position as industry frontrunners.

Recently, FINFROCK deployed an RC10 to handle the installation of the precast balcony components at The CenterPointe Apartments. Lifting, moving, and installing 7,000-pound precast balconies would normally present risks: risks of crew members injuring themselves, and risks of damage to the finished product. In their pursuit of finding a solution to these issues, FINFROCK turned to Vacuworx. 

Ryan Paxson, Director of Precast Field Operations at FINFROCK, explained, “The main reason for switching to the [RC10] was to provide the client/owner with a higher-quality product.” Vacuum lifting technology revolutionized the installation process by eliminating the need for traditional lifting points commonly used with large precast concrete units. Jim Kinsey, Senior Industrial Engineer at FINFROCK, said, “This method resulted in a higher-quality finish on the balcony components by eliminating the need for embedded top-lifters that would later require field patching.”

Benefits That go Beyond the Surface

Beyond the high-quality finish vacuum lifting provided FINFROCK’s balcony components, integrating the RC10 into their project operations was proven to be a game-changer that offered efficiency and time savings, without sacrificing safety. “In addition to improving the quality of the product, the vacuum-lifting technology enabled us to reduce installation time and costs,” Kinsey said.

Plus, working directly with FINFROCK lead to a more tailored and effective solution. Collaboration with between Vacuworx and FINFROCK enabled problem-solving: clearly identifying the issue and choosing the best solution. 

“Naturally, exploring new innovative ways to improve processes comes with its challenges, but working with Justin Hendricks, [Vacuworx’s Vice President of Operations and Engineering], throughout the process allowed us to efficiently resolve each obstacle we encountered along the way,” Kinsey said. 

By utilizing vacuum lifting, FINFROCK was able to streamline the material handling process, enhance overall productivity, and contribute to operational success.  


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