The tube lifter, also called the vacuum lifter, is a lifting device or lifting equipment that is fixed to a crane and uses a vacuum for ergonomic, easy fluid lifting of various types of loads, such as packages, boxes, wooden and plastic panels, sheet metal or glass panels, as well as barrels and canisters. Lifting and load carrying are completed in a single procedure. Additional lifting equipment such as a chain hoist is not required here.
Holding and lifting of the loads is realised by a vacuum. The lifting procedure is realised using a spiral tube, the so-called lifter tube; the load-carrying equipment is mounted at the end of this tube. The load-carrying equipment mostly also functions with a vacuum, but can also be mechanical. The suction foot, also called a vacuum cup, is placed on the load to be moved, e.g. a carton, the air in the suction foot and in the lifter tube is evacuated, the lifter tube folds together like an accordion, the load sticks to the suction foot and is lifted. If the vacuum is reduced, the load is lowered again. The vacuum is generated by a side channel blower, a vacuum pump or a multi-chamber ejector (venturi nozzle), depending on the application. Control of the tube lifter is by an operating component at the bottom of the vacuum lifter; this is used for one-hand lifting, lowering, suction and releasing of the load. These properties permit very rapid ergonomic and fluid load handling for the greatest possible efficiency.
The suction area of the load-carrying equipment and the diameter of the lifting tube are matched to each other in such a way that the lifting force of the suction foot (vacuum cup) or the vacuum gripper is always larger than the lifting tube. If you were to try to lift a load that exceeds the capacity of the suction foot, this load would never be lifted in the first place. A power failure also presents no danger; if the vacuum supply were to fail for such a reason, a non-return valve ensures safe, slow and controlled lowering before the load can fall off. A tube lifter (vacuum lifter) is thus a safe system that is far better in this regard than other lifting equipment.
BGR 500 Chapter 2.8 is applicable in this area. VBG 9a has been replaced by this. As the BGR does not address vacuum lifters in particular, we feel that §22 of VBG 9a still provides a good guideline.
A FIPA tube lifter is a very universal piece of equipment, and even the standard version has a wide range of application possibilities, so that the same unit can be used to master a wide range of tasks. This means that all areas of internal logistics from goods receiving to production, warehousing and goods despatch are served and that problem-free material flow is guaranteed. With partially different load-carrying equipment we can move a large variety of types of goods, such as sacks, boxes, cartons, plates, sheets, windows, doors, glass panes, barrels, beverage crates and canisters. Virtually any application can be considered. Tube lifters can be used in any conceivable sector; these systems are often found in producing companies, such as in sheet metal processing, carpentry, window manufacture, breweries and in all types of logistics companies, as well as in all companies that have to control their material flow in the course of their internal logistics.
For use in the food processing industry, above all for direct contact with foodstuffs, we can offer tube lifters with metal parts largely made from stainless steel, which are thus easy to clean. In addition, we can offer food grade vacuum cups made from silicone that have been approved in accordance with EU1935/2004 and FDA.