The Tindall Corp. San Antonio Division has a new way of handling some of its largest precast elements after teaming with Oklahoma-based Vacuworx to develop the CC-TT Computer Controlled Double Tee Vacuum Lifting System. The companies are redefining the standards for handling precast, prestressed members popular in the design and construction of parking structures and buildings that require long clear spans.
Conventional handling of oversized precast members involves the use of hooks, cables and anchors in conjunction with an overhead crane. It also necessitates that plant crews climb on stacks or ladders to set dunnage. To address growing safety concerns, the Tindall San Antonio Division team contacted Vacuworx regarding extension of vacuum pad-enabled lifting devices proven in small element handling.
Tindall produces double tees with span lengths of 60 feet or more, and flange widths up to 14 feet. Tindall General Manager Greg Elliott says the ultimate goal of approaching Vacuworx was a reduction in the number of employees working from elevated positions while performing the required logistics to move finished products and stack them in the yard. The companies targeted a product that addressed pain points of handling the double tee beams while ensuring the highest safety standards.
“Double tees are rugged and tough, but can be delicate if not handled correctly,” Elliott affirms. “So you have to ‘pick’ a certain way or you can break it. Tindall and Vacuworx engineers came up with exactly where the pad should be when you ‘pick’ a product. It was in the interest of safety. If people aren’t climbing on ladders, working from elevated positions, the risk of a fall is reduced or eliminated. There is really no way to tie an employee off up there.”
The CC-TT is one of the largest Vacuworx systems, boasting a lift capacity of 77,000 lbs. Based on the design of the company’s RC Series, it sports a computer operated remote control system with touch screen, which provides real-time operation and diagnostic information such as vacuum pressure readings for both reservoir and pads, fuel level, and battery status. Closed circuit cameras afford unobstructed views to enable precise pad placement.
The diesel engine-powered CC-TT system is compatible with mobile or stationary gantry cranes. Pads are specially engineered to accommodate double tee weight and scale. Variable pad positions ensure even lifting and avoidance of key stress points. Each pad is equipped with a sensor to confirm that the load is engaged. The system can also be modified to handle other precast or steel members.