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Range of suction cups available from Adelaide Pneumatic Sales

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article image Suction cups

Using suction cups is a lifting technique with many possibilities. You can, for example, handle board materials or concrete slabs, open bags, pick electronic components, label and hold objects.

But different applications need different requirements. PIAB offers wide range of suction cups so that each application will have its own solution.

Suction cups made from Duraflex for increased productivity and performance. Increase your productivity and security with Duraflex, a strong and elastic material with good sealing capability.

High friction and reduced micro-leakage increase the lifting capability and the cup’s good wear resistance extends the change-over intervals.

PIAB’s unique dual-hardness cups are ideally suited for applications where micro-leakage can occur, for example when a suction cup does not properly conform to a handled material, such as corrugated cardboard.

Dual-hardness cups provide both the strength and flexibility needed to seal on uneven or coarse surfaces.

Suction cup models available from Adelaide Pneumatic Sales include:

Every application requires a particular design of suction cup.

  • U – Universal suction cup
  • B, B-MF – suction cup with short bellows
  • BF – suction cup with short bellows and large lip
  • BL, BX – suction cup with long bellows
  • F, F-MF – flat suction cup with internal cleats
  • D – Deep suction cup
  • Suction cup with valve
  • FC – flat, concave suction cup with internal cleats
  • FP – large, flat suction cup with profile
  • P and OP – suction cup with cellular rubber profile, round and oval
  • OB – oval suction cup with short bellows
  • OC – oval, concave suction cup
  • OF – oval, flat suction cup with internal cleats

General operating principles of suction cups:

How does a suction cup work?

A suction cup adheres to a surface when the surrounding pressure (atmospheric pressure) is higher than the pressure between the suction cup and the surface of the object.

To create the low pressure in the suction cup it is connected to a vacuum source. The lower the pressure, the higher the vacuum in the suction cup results in increased lifting force.

Energy requirements:

Suction cups should not be exposed to unnecessarily high vacuum levels. Too high vacuum levels will cause unnecessary wear and require more energy.

With an increase of the vacuum level from 18 -inHg to 27 -inHg the lifting force increases by 20–40% while the energy requirements are increased by a factor of 10.

Since the lifting force is directly proportional to the area of the suction cup, it is better to maintain a lower vacuum level and increase the area of the suction cup when more lifting force is required.

Safety factors:

The lifting force can be perpendicular or parallel to the surface to be handled. The values are based on sample data for a dry steel plate.

When sizing a suction cup, it is always recommended to multiply the weight of the object to be handled by a minimum factor of 2 for increased safety.

Acceleration and deceleration:

Rapidly moving objects have additional dynamic forces arising from acceleration and deceleration. In this case, multiplying the object's weight by a minimum of 2.5 is recommended when calculating the size of the suction cup.

Savings in energy and system costs:

Leakage occurs in a system when one or more suction cups do not contact the object being handled. This may happen in applications where the number, the position or the size of the objects to be lifted varies.

Usually a large vacuum pump is used to cope with the air leakage and to maintain the vacuum level. The result is an inefficient system in terms of energy and capital costs.

A better solution is to use PIAB fittings with valves. The valves stop or reduce the leakage so that a smaller, more appropriate vacuum pump can be used to decrease installation and operation costs.

Dual control valve:

The air evacuated by the vacuum pump can only flow through a small opening (restriction). Even if the suction cup does not make contact with the object, the leakage will be minimal and the system will not be affected to any significant degree.

When the suction cup makes contact with the object, only the cup’s own volume has to be evacuated and the vacuum is created rapidly.

When the object is released, air opens the built-in flap valve in the fitting and flows through a larger opening. The object is thus released quickly.

Caution: Fittings with dual flow control valves can be assembled on suction cups from 20 to 50mm in size (0.79"-1.97" diameter). They are used only when lifting objects made of non-porous material.

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