What is vacuum handling?

The unmatched power of vacuum handling
Vacuum handling enables you to handle heavy loads without the risk of damaging the product. Next to lifting you can rotate, turn and move your product with exact precision, regardless of its weight. A vacuum lifter can easily handle every weight, from 80 kg up to 80 tons, and even more! The possibilities of vacuum handling are practically endless.

The Magdeburg hemispheres experiment

The power of vacuum was first proven in 1654 by Otto von Guericke, the then Mayor of the German city of Magdeburg. He performed the famous experiment which is now known as the ‘Magdeburg hemispheres experiment’. Otto von Guericke designed the Magdeburg hemispheres to demonstrate the air pump he had invented and the concept of atmospheric pressure. The hemispheres are still used in education to illustrate the strength of air pressure.

The Magdeburg hemisphere experiment consisted of two large copper hemispheres with a diameter of approximately 50cm (20 inches) and the vacuum pump Otto von Guericke invented. One hemisphere was through a tube connection attached to the vacuum pump. The two hemispheres were held together and sealed with grease, after which the air was sucked out of the sphere, creating a vacuum on the inside. Even with on both side fifteen horses in harness pulling the globe in opposite directions, it appeared impossible to separate the two halves. Now we know the force which needed to be countered was 20,000 N. The equivalent of a mass of 2 ton! Now you see why even 30 horses in total weren’t enough to separate the spheres.

Why vacuum handling is a uniquely powerful tool

But what kept the two hemispheres together? The atmospheric pressure on the outer surface pushed the two hemispheres strongly together. The atmospheric pressure exerts on earth is 1 bar, however, inside the sphere an under pressure was created between 0 and 1 bar. All Aerolift vacuum lifting solutions are designed on the principle of the Magdeburg hemispheres. A suction pad of one square meter easily lifts products up to 4 tons!

Advantages of vacuum handling

We explained why vacuum is incredibly strong, but why opt for vacuum handling over other lifter methods? Well, compared vacuum handling offers many impressive advantages compared to other lifting methods:

Easy and fast

  • Attachment and detachment are done in seconds

Reduced production costs

  • Increased productivity
  • Lower investment in technology, labour and energy
  • No damage to the product


  • Double safety factor
  • Extra safety provision in the event of a power failure
  • Reduced accident risk

With vacuum handling, you choose safety

Vacuum handling is in many situations a safer technology than conventional lifting systems. Unlike conventional techniques using slings, chains and hooks, an Aerolift vacuum lifter continuously monitors the safety status. The operator is able to read the vacuum value at all times. Moreover, as soon as the vacuum level drops below 80%, the lifter emits a very clear visual and audio signal. All Aerolift vacuum lifters are engineered and built to ensure that in the event of a technical failure the product stays attached safely for at least 20 minutes. Leaving sufficient time to take corrective measures and lower the product safely to floor level.

More about safe lifting by vacuum

5 sound reasons to opt for an Aerolift vacuum lifter

Aerolift has a worldwide reputation to design outstanding and high quality (vacuum) lifting solutions for a wide range of industries. A reputation, built on a wealth of experience, knowledge of many different industries and the strength of innovative developments which is reflected in custom made lifting solutions which perfectly fit each specific situation. The developments make our products unique in the lifting industry:

  • All our vacuum lifters are provided with Aerolift vacuum valves, which require a positive signal to change the status. The vacuum valves are specially developed to ensure safe lifting even if a power failure occurs. Also, we are the only supplier of vacuum lifters which guarantees their vacuum valves for at least 400.000 moves before the valve needs to be overhauled.
  • We specially designed this vacuum valve to ensure safe lifting even in the situation of a power failure.
  • The Aerolift vacuum hoses are steel reinforced to be resistant against considerable forces.
  • The Aerolift vacuum lifters are designed to be less susceptible to temperature. And in the situation of extreme temperatures, we also designed several lifting solutions.
  • When it comes to extreme temperatures, we are able to take this into account in the design. For example, by extreme low temperatures we provide the lifter with heating elements on essential components such as valves, pumps and cabinets.
  • The exclusive Aerolift rubber is specially designed to be the perfect seal during lifting operations. This rubber performs reliable in a temperature range of -40 °C to +50 °C. For operations under higher temperatures we use a rubber quality that holds its integrity in temperatures up to 220 °C. Moreover, a rubber quality that performs in even higher temperatures is currently under development.
  • If desired, or necessary due to the working environment, Aerolift is able to design vacuum lifters with multiple vacuum systems integrated to create safety on safety.

Want to know more about Aerolift vacuum handling?

For more information on vacuum handling and the possibilities, please contact our team of experts. We are happy to discuss your specific situation. Based on our highly advanced product knowledge, we are able to offer suitable lifting solutions for any industry. Aerolift has its own engineering department and production organisation. With the entire process in our own hands, we’re able to respond suitably to the most complex demands. All our vacuum lifters comply at minimum with NEN-EN 13155 industry standards or in accordance with SGS, ABS, Lloyds TŰV and others your preferred regulations.