Vacuworx, Tulsa, Okla., manufactures innovative heavy-duty material-handling systems based on hydraulic-powered vacuum lifting. The equipment is used in the oil and gas, water and sewer, highway and heavy construction, concrete construction, landscaping and manufacturing industries.
The company announced at Conexpo/IFPE that it has engineered significant updates to its line of RC Series vacuum lifting systems. All changes are designed to maximize safety while minimizing down time on the job. In addition, the lifters are “smarter” than ever before by incorporating a CAN bus system to provide real-time diagnostics and enhanced safety features.
Although the installation for RC Series lifters is said to be quite simple, Vacuworx engineers have made several enhancements to the adapter (the part that connects the lifter to the host machine, such as an excavator) which improve the process.
The adapter now features removable top caps, which lets an installer position and secure the adapter pin easily. Standard pin size is 110 mm, but the adapter will also accommodate pin sizes down to 50 mm using bushings. Vacuworx also offers an adapter for 120 mm pins and larger.
A flow control block has been incorporated into the adapter to allow for safer and more convenient adjustment of the hydraulics. This puts the flow controls within easy reach, rather than higher up on the arm of the excavator. In addition, the part of the adapter that connects to the base plate on the lifter, referred to as the “tombstone,” is now a replaceable part of the assembly rather than being welded to the adapter. This is designed to minimize time and overall cost of repairs.
In a similar vein, the traditional gear box has been replaced with a belt drive. This will provide longer service life and drastically reduce repairs, said company officials. The belt drive requires virtually no maintenance and is environmentally friendly with no oil to replace. In addition, the system design keeps engine bay temperatures cooler.
Vacuworx has also implemented CAN bus technology for its vacuum lifting systems. Commonly used in passenger vehicles and other equipment, a Controller Area Network (CAN bus) lets internal devices communicate with each other without a host computer. Using a central logic controller, the system is designed to monitor for faults and quickly diagnose specific problems.
The new dashboard gauge on one side of the lifter shows error codes, oil and fuel levels, pressure level, number of lifts and engine hours. The logic controller increases safety by ensuring that the electronic components are operating correctly.
The simplified wiring design of the system has fewer components and no mechanical switches. The system incorporates pressure transducers instead of a vacuum switch for greater accuracy. All circuits can be monitored and diagnosed through the logic controller. There are no fuses to repair or replace — all faults are reset electronically. In addition, the design helps promote safety by identifying any incorrect repairs or environmental damage.