A suction lifter (or suction pad) is a form of suction cup used for commercial and industrial lifting operations. In the construction industry, they are often used to move large, smooth objects such as glass panes, fixtures such as kitchen countertops, floor tiles, and so on. They are commonly hand-operated, although they can also operate on a hoist.
Suction lifters follow the same principle as a suction cup, maintaining a vacuum between the surface to be lifted and a flexible material such as rubber. The vacuum is created by pushing a lever or handle on the suction cup.
Their load carrying capacity is dependent on the type, size and number of suction cups, and the lifting mechanism. Typical safe working loads for hand operated suction lifters range from 10kg to 60kg per lifter, with lifters formed from 1 to 4 suction cups. Hoist operated lifters can have from 1 to 50 or more suction cups and can lift well in excess of 1,000kg.
They work best against very flat, smooth surfaces, but can also be congfigured to lift other shapes, such as curves. Rougher textured surfaces make the maintaining of a vacuum more difficult
Lower atmospheric pressures also make it more difficult to stick to surfaces.
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