NASA’s Ames Research Center
-- Robert Walker

NASA's Ames Research Center Sky Hook Lifting Device

At NASA’s Ames Research Center we study the chemistry of astronomical objects within our Solar System and beyond. We use a vacuum system that was designed to reproduce the ultra low temperatures and vacuum of outer space. This is done with diffusion pumps for vacuum and a special refrigeration unit we call the “cooler”. To access parts for maintenance we must periodically lift the cooler out.

The Sky Hook Model 8570 portable lifting device is an ideal “lifting parts system” for this application.

Before Sky Hook we were limited to using coolers that only weighed 15 lbs. which were lifted out by hand. It sounds easy, but not everyone could handle these smaller systems because of the attached high pressure helium lines. Obviously this method of lifting machine accessories or coolers was not ideal. Also, because using this method to lift parts was so awkward, occasionally someone would damage the sensors on the cooler.

NASA's Ames Research Center Sky Hook Lifting Device

With helium hoses connected, the newest cooler weighs over 40 lbs and is even more awkward to handle. Back injury prevention is always a consideration (so it would be very impractical to lift the unit up by hand to remove).

NASA's Ames Research Center Sky Hook Lifting Device

I knew we needed a portable lifting device that would allow us to lift the cooler straight up with ease, and then swing it around to the cart for maintenance. Sky Hook 8570 provided the perfect solution to all our problems. When the research scientists saw the Sky Hook 8570 in use, they all agreed that it was a fantastic lifting parts system.

There was one unexpected bonus–as you can see in the close-up picture of the cooler–we are able to stop lifting at any point. Here you can see the gold-plated window holder which can easily be cleaned, then lowered back into the vacuum chamber. This alone is a big time saver AND far less awkward, because on the smaller 15lb units the Cooler has to be completely removed and placed on a table–at the same time by hand-and at the same time deal with helium lines.

Another great feature is the ability to rotate the cooler 180º, and lower it through the hole in the lift cart (where it can sit for more work that might be required).

I was so impressed with this portable lifting device; I even bought the Sky Hook Model 8540 Receiver Hitch base for my personal use. It fits on my truck, as well as with the Model 8557 base stand in my home shop.


San Diego Harbor Police
-- Sgt. Eric Womack


San Diego Harbor Poice Sky Hook Lifting Device

“The San Diego Harbor Police had an application requiring us to lift propane canisters—weighing about 60 pounds apiece—from the dock onto a boat. There is about a 10 foot difference between the dock and the boat. Naturally, industrial accident prevention was a key component when we analyzed the best way to do this task. In addition to back injury prevention, we needed to be concerned about dropping the canisters, which could cause injuries to feet and legs. Damaging the canisters—or the boats themselves—was also a concern.

When we researched the ergonomic lifting equipment on the market, we chose the Sky Hook model #8527 with some customization. We needed a manual lifting device that could withstand the harsh salt water environment. This required a stainless steel chain and the chain drive to be completely internal. Working with Dean at Sky Hook to get a custom lifting device couldn’t have been easier. I described my requirements for a portable lifting device and he said, ‘No problem, we can do that.’ In no time at all, we were able to lift parts easily.

The Sky Hook portable lifting device turned an arduous task into something simple and assured us of back injury prevention. I would describe our experience with the Sky Hook product and the customer service as excellent.”

San Diego Harbor Police Sky Hook Lifting DeviceSan Diego Harbor Police Sky Hook Lifting DeviceSan Diego Harbor Police Sky Hook Lifting Device


Benlan Inc.
-- Andy Alexander

Benlan Inc Sky Hook Lifting Device

Benlan is a medical device manufacturer who does assemblies and packaging in clean rooms. We needed to change out the moulds–weighing approximately 200 lbs. each–on our packaging machines. Our original machine accessory lifting solution was to use a couple of strong men or a car engine hoist. The area where the machines are located is quite congested so the car engine hoist was an awkward way to lift parts.

Industrial accident prevention– especially back injury prevention–is always a big concern at Benlan, so the “two strong man” solution wasn’t the best approach. We needed a way of lifting machine accessories that allowed us to lift parts with a smaller–and portable– lifting device. The Skyhook Model 8570 is the perfect solution!

This lightweight lifting device allows us to use only one mechanic. The Skyhook does all the work, helping us with preventing back injuries. Machine accessory lifting in our crowded area is no longer a problem.

Dean at Skyhook was able to provide us with a custom lifting device (we needed a shorter arm than the standard Skyhook 8570 unit) that fits nicely in our clean rooms. Because the Skyhook 8570 is a portable lifting device, one mechanic is able lift parts and move from one machine to another very easily.

Changing out moulds efficiently and safely—that’s what the Skyhook 8570 allows us to do. I recommend it to anyone who does any machine accessory lifting.


Nampa Valley Helicopters, Inc
-- John Nielson

Nampa Valley Helicopters Sky Hook Lifting Device

"Nampa Valley Helicopters is an FAA repair station authorized to overhaul and repair helicopter components and rebuild helicopters. Components arrive at our facility in separate containers: main rotor head, main rotor shaft, main & tail rotor gear boxes.

Originally our lifting equipment solution was to use a cherry picker or forklift (if space allowed) and/or a worker or two. Once in the shop, the gear boxes must be moved from work stand to test stand. This is a difficult process and was done by workers.

At Nampa Valley Helicopter, industrial accident prevention is always foremost. When we evaluated ergonomic lifting equipment, preventing back injuries, was a key requirement.

We wanted to be able to lift parts safely and more efficiently. The Sky Hook manual lifting device has proven to be a valuable tool in our business. Because it is a portable lifting device, we

Nampa Valley Helicopters Sky Hook Lifting Device
now are able to use the Sky Hook to lift a component from a box and place it on the Sky Hook cart. Then we remove the part from the cart, overhaul the unit, place it back on the cart, transport it to the test stand, off load to the stand, send it to the paint stop, and—after final inspection—place it back in the container. The Sky Hook unit is used in every step of the process—preventing back injuries, as well as minimizing the risk of equipment damage.

The Sky Hook manual lifting device is working so well here at Nampa Valley Helicopters, we decided we need another unit!


Engineered Tools Corporation
-- Ross Deneau, Manufacturing Manager

“ETC/Gear Cutting Systems is a repair center for “cutter bodies” that go into gear cutting machines. Customers send us their cutter bodies, we do the repair, and then ship the parts back. This process requires us to lift parts weighing up to 300 lbs.– many times over. Lifting equipment of this weight and moving it all over the plant (from receiving to the work stations, lifting and lowering the cutter bodies onto the surface grinders, then to other work areas, and finally back out to shipping) was originally done by at least two big guys, or by awkwardly using hooks fitted into pipes. Clearly we needed ergonomic lifting equipment that improved this process.

I saw an ad for the Skyhook model 8570 portable lifting device. I was a bit skeptical because it seemed too good to be true. I had seen other industrial lifting equipment and they all seemed to be bulky and not suited for our needs. I wondered how this lightweight lifting device could do the job at what appeared to be so easily. Well, The Skyhook 8570 does exactly what it says it would do–help us lift parts while preventing back injuries. It is like having another pair of hands. The 8570 is so well-built that the uses for this great portable lifting device never end. I ended up getting another unit and am now promoting it to all my gear machine manufacturers.

Now that we have these units, I can’t imagine what we did without them!“

Eskridge Custom Rifle Barrels
Steven Eskridge, Owner

“Eskridge Custom Rifle Barrels is a small business specializing in making custom cut-style rifle and handgun barrels. I began serious study of bolt action rifles some 30 years ago and started a custom gunsmithing business in 1993. Some of the machine tool equipment in my shop is CNC, some is manual , and the rest is “purpose built” –designed specifically for my application. I have various components that are too heavy to safely lift, from the standpoint of personal injury and the need to closely control the component to prevent damage to equipment. I needed to manage the various components on my mill (4th axis, vices, fixturing, etc.) and also change out lathe chucks, which are too heavy to lift manually.

Before purchasing the Sky Hook Model 8570 w/Mobile Cart (with the Model 8520 Chuck Hook Accessory and Model 8515 Vise Hook Accessory), I lifted these components manually. This took excessive time–as well as being very awkward and dangerous. Since my shop is small, using an overhead gantry would have been overkill, and furthermore not as desirable as lifting from the side because the machine tools themselves interfere with an overhead lift.

Now, lifting machine accessories is a snap. The Sky Hook is a small jib boom that can be rolled up to each machine tool from the shop floor. The components, such as the 4th axis or lathe chucks, can be accessed from whatever angle I need. The standard handwheel and brake mechanisms of the Model 8570 allow very smooth lifting, but more importantly for me, this control system makes it possible to lower the component down onto the machine table under complete control. Feathering the brake is very easy. With the Mobile Cart, I can swing the component around a full 180 degrees in either direction and set it down on the top of the cart, which can then be moved as needed.

Bottom line: with the Sky Hook Model 8570 I save a lot of time. More importantly–using it protects my equipment, protects my workspace, and protects myself. I recommend this equipment and would not want to do this type of work without it.”