Drives and Controls Magazine

A gripping idea to improve vacuum lifting systems

01 February, 2003

A gripping idea to improve vacuum lifting systems

A Swedish company specialising in vacuum technology has developed a materials-handling device that combines a suction cup with a vacuum pump. The company, Piab, says that this device uses less energy and is quicker and more reliable than traditional vacuum lifting systems based on a central vacuum pump.

Conventional installations are often over-dimensioned to allow for possible pressure losses in the system. This is not necessary for Pfab`s Vacuum Gripper System (VGS). The suction cups, available in diameters from 35-100mm, can grip porous and leaky materials, as well a coarse and curved surfaces.

The system can be reset rapidly to handle different materials or objects. All you need to know is the required lifting force and the material being handled. To achieve the desired lifting force and response time, you simply adjust the feed pressure. The system will work with feed pressures as low as 3 bar.

An accessory called a stabiliser can be fitted around the suction cup to support it when moving loads rapidly in a sideways direction. In such applications, conventional vacuum systems often have to be fitted with extra suction cups. The stabiliser prevents the cup from coming loose and and also helps when handling difficult-to-grasp objects