Bespoke Vacuum Lifter Andron Handling

Bespoke Vacuum lifter provided by Andron for transporting a large cylinder

September 28, 2021

Andron used vacuum technology for the design, manufacture and commission of a bespoke vacuum lifter that could pick up and transfer a heavy duty cylinder.


The customer was looking for a portable assistor that could pick up a large hot water cylinder from the floor and rotate it to place in a water tank for testing, then pick up from the water tank and rotate it again before placing it on a conveyor. This process had previously been carried out manually with some difficulty, due to the size and shape of the cylinder.

The Technical Challenge

This project posed an unusual technical challenge in that the cylinder had to be picked up from a container of water meaning the surface would be slippery when connecting to the vacuum end effector. In addition, the cylinder could vary in size so the bespoke vacuum lifter had to cope with different surface diameters. The cylinders itself were up to 1800mm long and a SWL of 50kg was required so a large scale solution was needed to be able to safely manoeuvre the cylinder from start to end location. The customer also requested that the vacuum lifter was portable so that it could be used in different locations in their facility.

The Andron vacuum lifter Solution

The Andron solution was a large (5000mm long and 4000mm high)) floor standing articulated easy arm. Suspended from the arm is a pneumatic balancer with wire rope and safety hook and attached to this is the vacuum lifter end effector. Following successful prototype testing, the Andron design team selected a polyurethane specification for the vacuum lifter suction cups that could securely and easily attach to varying different sizes of cylinder even when the surface is wet. The handler is controlled by simple vacuum on and release buttons as well as the commands to raise, lower and rotate the part once attached.

The system works using a bespoke pneumatic logic circuit and has safety features including an ‘ok to lift’ green indicator signalling that all vacuum suction cups are correctly attached and the cylinder is ready to lift. An alarm was also fitted which indicates to the operator if the pressure is not at safe levels to use the equipment. The entire handler is mounted on a mobile base which can easily be attached to a fork lift to be moved around the facility.

The final solution enables a single operator to safely and easily manoeuvre the heavy duty cylinder as required. For more information on our range of vacuum lifters please see here.