A new vacuum lifter currently being manufactured by UK firm the Vacuum Lifting Company, and sold in the UK by LoadLift, could be set to improve manual handling of awkward loads in factories.

The unit can carry loads weighing up to 300kg, using only a 20kg vacuum unit.

Loadlift is marketing the lifter to local government agencies for lifting granite kerbstone sections.

But older designs are being used in factories at they expect the new model to be a big hit. The machine will be ideal for lifting glass and marble, for example.

Spokesman Mark Page said: “We expect people to be interested in the new vacuum outside of the council market.

“People didn’t expect the method to be as good as it is and they are still getting used to the idea of using vacuums. The idea is still taking off in factories.

“It’s so much easier because it can be hooked anywhere and the actual unit is so light that it is a versatile lifting tool.”

The granite kerb lifter is battery powered and needs to be charged and recharged. But Page believes this is one of the biggest advantages of the new machine.

“Once it is charged it lasts eight hours so users will be able to charge it overnight. Some people will not use it all day and will only have to charge it every few days,” he said.

“There is no need for power leads and cables so it can be used anywhere. There are no additional ropes or chains so it is simple and effective.”

The only wearing part is the seal that grips the load, which Page said needs replacing every nine months.