May 2011 - RHC Delivers Adaptable Vacuum Lifting Beam

RHC Lifting Limited has supplied its first of two carbon fibre wing spar vacuum lifting beam to their customer. 

The vacuum lifting beam was designed with ultimate flexibility in mind as they will be used to lift a number of different sized wing components, some of which are yet to be fully designed. The vacuum beam was therefore designed with all the pads fully adjustable and also with isolation valves to enable pads to be selected as required from an HMI screen mounted on the control panel on the vacuum beam. 

The frame has tandem lift points at 6m centres with extendable sections each end giving an overall length of 11.6m and has the ability to rotate to 180 degrees. The beam has a total of 10No 160mm diameter pads along the centre line and 14No 210mm diameter pads in pairs each side of centre, which can be adjusted via aluminium guides so no paint flakes off onto the carbon fibre product. 

The HMI software has been written to include a teach screen were pad configurations and rotations can be stored and selected from a menu for the different components to be lifted. 

The vacuum beam also includes a Siemens wireless control and is fully integrated into the customer’s existing RHC overhead latching crane system. Control of the vacuum beams is therefore possible from the crane’s Autec radio remote controllers with full indexing so that the main crane PLC can determine which of the 8No latching cranes is fitted with the vacuum beams. 

A large vacuum reservoir was incorporated into the frame structure giving excellent safety margins. 4No retractable safety straps were also fitted to the pad cross members for added safety in the event of power failure and vacuum loss to ensure the safety of personnel and the product. In the event of a failure the straps would arrest within 100mm to prevent the component falling. 


Indication of the pad isolation and good vacuum pressure is shown on the panel HMI and also local LED beacons above each pad. 

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Contact Details

RHC Lifting Limited - HQ

Lawrence Drive

Stover Trading Estate

Yate, Bristol

BS37 5PG


Tel: 01454 332270


Autec Enq: 

RHC Lifting Limited - Yeovil 

RHC Lifting Limited

C/O Leonardo Helicopters

Lysander Road


BA20 2YB


Tel: 01935 704076

RHC Lifting Limited - Plymouth 

11 Mary Seacole Road




Tel: 01752 250501

Current Vacancies

2 x Crane Service / Installation Engineers (London & Yorkshire)Current Vacancies


The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association LEEA

RHC Lifting are proud members of LEEA - The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association

IS0 9001:2008 Accreditation ISO 9001

RHC Lifting are an ISO 9001:2008   accredited company

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RHC Lifting are Safe contractor Approved

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© RHC Lifting Limited, Lawrence Drive, Stover Trading Estate, Yate, Bristol, BS37 5PG
Yeovil - RHC Lifting Limited, C/O Leonardo Helicopters, Lysander Road, Yeovil, BA20 2YB
Plymouth - RHC Lifting Limited, 11 Mary Seacole Road, Plymouth, PL1 3JY