The standard Sky Hook product, the Model 8570 with mobile cart base, comes with the company’s standard friction brake, or an optional clutch brake.

However, the full Sky Hook product series includes a range of small portable lifting devices suitable for most applications, says the company. The smallest device weighs 23lbs and lifts up to 500lbs without any electricity, air, or hydraulics.

A range of base options includes dovetail tool holder mounts, bench mounts, floor mounts, and a series of mobile bases.

Some of the custom modifications most commonly requested include the clutch brake; a lowered handwheel, which puts the handwheel at a more ergonomic height for the operator; dual handwheels, where a handwheel is located on both sides to allow operation from either side; an auxiliary drive, comprising a stub shaft assembly in the centre of the handwheel to enable the operator to use a 0.5in drive pistol drill to raise and lower the load, up to a maximum load capacity of 250lbs; a GBK- 7 safety hook with a larger opening than the standard hook; and modifications to meet requirement for CE certification.

Sky Hook’s Model 8570 lifting device was recently used at NASA’s Ames Research Centre, a facility for the study of the chemistry of astronomical objects. The centre uses a system designed to reproduce the vacuum and ultralow temperatures of outer space, using diffusion pumps to create the vacuum and a refrigeration unit to lower the temperature. This cooler has to be periodically lifted out for maintenance.

Prior to the installation of the Sky Hook, says NASA, the research facility was limited to cooling units weighing up to 15lbs, which were lifted out by hand—made more difficult by the attached high-pressure helium lines, and sometimes leading to damage.

The current cooling unit, when attached to helium hoses, weighs more than 40lbs, and so a solution for lifting the unit up, and then swinging it around, was required. The Sky Hook 8570 was installed after being demonstrated to the research scientists at the facility. A further bonus of the lifting system, NASA added, is that the Sky Hook can stop lifting at any point—allowing the unit to be cleaned then lowered back into the vacuum chamber without being completely removed and placed on a separate surface.