Material Handling

Vacuum lifting systems make work easier

Vacuum lifting systems supplied by Devo-Tech AG, of Ziefen, near Basle, Switzerland, lift and convey the most diverse range of materials. They assure not only cost-efficiency, safety and flexibility, but also, in particular, fast and easy handling.

This vacuum handling specialist has the right specific solution available for any task. The company‘s Vacuum Technology division has now entered tunnel construction, in the field of handling of segmental support and lining equipment. The requirements for accurate fit made on segmental linings are extremely high, with tolerances normally ranging from 1 to – at most – a few mm; such elements are therefore generally fabricated in metal formwork. Handling equipment is needed for the rotation, removal, supply and storage of the concrete segments.

The company set itself and mastered this challenge, and has in the meantime become a sub-supplier for tunnelling projects around the globe. Its equipment is used for vacuum handling of loads of up to 16 t. Safety is the top priority, and only first-class components are therefore used. The central elements of every system take the form of vacuum pumps supplied by a leading pump manufacturer, combined with an electronic control system developed within the company and featuring all-in safety monitoring. Various machines are in use, by no means only in Switzerland. The Type DVL-16.0T-90 seg­ment rotator is already performing valuable service in demanding continuous operation at a major tunnel site in Austria, for example. This is a special unit developed and produced for this project on the basis of close cooperation with the on-site engineers. Other machines are in use around the world, in Mexico, Slovenia, the USA, Russia, China, Venezuela, and several other countries. The Ziefen company‘s project partners include general planners, tunnelling contractors and the world‘s largest tunnel-boring machine producer.

From a 50 kg case to the 16 t heavyweight

The company subsequently also began to develop lifting equipment for other applications; its core activity is the in-house development and fabrication of vacuum systems for loads ranging from 50 to 15,000 kg; these are moved horizontally and/or vertically. In many cases, the unit is used as a means of load attachment in conveying and handling systems, in crane installations, and in combination with other lifting equipment. In most cases, Devo-Tech AG has also been responsible for installation of the crane system. The necessary equipment is obtained from suppliers of high repute. A further important operation, slewing and turning through 90 to 180°, is also covered using equipment produced within the company. Its many years of experience have made the company a specialist in all types of customised solutions.

Customer loyalty thanks to great depth of production

As Paul Vögtli, owner and managing director of Devo-Tech AG, comments on his company‘s orientation: “Competen­ce, quality and reliability at rational market prices – these are our strengths. We are not mass producers, we are specialist mechanical engineers. We make most of the important components ourselves, which helps in keeping delivery dates under control. Our inhouse CAD planning department, and our large stockholdings of steel, stainless and aluminium, combined with our inhouse control system production department, enable us to meet orders in the shortest possible time. Tunnel engineering and production of vacuum lifting systems account for around 60 % of our total turnover“. Thanks to its in-house development department and optimum infrastructure, Devo-Tech AG is able to plan and produce holistic handling systems, including crane installations, precisely to customers‘ individual requirements. Trained specialists are deployed for installation, servicing and main­te­nance.


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