The mechanical vacuum lifter features a self-cycling valve and piston mechanism that creates a powerful suction when lowered from a crane onto a load until the chain slakens fully and is raised again. The system allows one person to ergonomically handle metal sheet and plate, provides instant attach and release, and leaves no marks or magnetization. Capable of lifting and feeding single sheets from the top, the lifter needs no compressed air or electricity because the entire pickup and release operation is controlled by the hoist. Providing unrestricted load rotation, it can be transported from crane-to-crane within a facility and creates no pollution with minimal noise. System capabilities to 15,000 lb (6800 kg) are available.