Vacuworx Wins Award

October 10, 2017

INDUSTRY NEWS (Tulsa, OK) – National Park Service cites safety and versatility among major considerations when deciding on concrete lifting system manufactured by Tulsa-based Vacuworx to handle recent renovation of South Portico stairways at the White House.

Vacuum lifting technology has made its way to the White House as part of the National Park Service’s historic renovation of the building’s South Portico steps. The $1 million project, which included dismantling Truman-era staircases and installing carefully selected cuts of Missouri limestone, was completed between August 5 and August 30, 2017.

Jessica Gordon, an exhibits specialist with NPS’ Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC), said a material handling solution that incorporated a Vacuworx MC Series Vacuum Lifting System proved advantageous as crews pulled two base stones weighing approximately 2,400 lb. each, and set a total of 46 new slabs. Each new South Portico step – there are 21 located on the east and 21 on the west – are approximately 10 in. long, 7 in. deep and 20 in. wide. The four new landing stones are 11 ft. long, 7 in. thick and 6 ft. wide. Gordon worked directly with Vacuworx to rent an MC 5 lifter and three custom pad assemblies. The carrier equipment was rented from Extreme Steel & Rigging, based in Warrenton, Virginia.

The MC 5 operates using a self-contained diesel engine. When activated, the system pulls a vacuum between the pad and object to be lifted, providing a powerful positive seal. Eliminating the need for straps, Gordon noted, saved crews nearly 8 hours as she estimates that method would have required an additional 10 minutes per limestone step during the installation process. The application of vacuum lifting also mitigated the risk of chipping the top-grade material by prying on it with a bucket or fork, she said, and curbed the possibility of damaging an adjacent patio on the South Lawn.

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