This is a pretty common question when it comes to Vacuum Generator use in pick-and-place application, and although we can’t boil it down to a simple table & formula based on mass (like we can with the Vacuum Cups themselves,) we can usually hone right in on it, if we have enough details of the situation. And, if questions remain, we can always test one to find out…we’ve got an Efficiency Lab.
That’s what I did, first thing this morning. I had the pleasure of speaking with a robotics instructor at a vocational school yesterday…his class was building a robot to enter in a competition, and one of the operations it needs to accomplish is picking up a golf ball and carrying it a certain distance. This sounded like a great application for a small E-Vac Vacuum Generator, and, considering the potential leakage at the Vacuum Cup face from the dimples on the golf ball, my first instinct was to consider our Model 810002M E-Vac Low Vacuum (Porous Duty) Generator w/Muffler, and a Model 900766 Bellow Style Vacuum Cup, with a 0.73″ diameter face…our smallest, and ideally sized for a golf ball. They, however, have a VERY limited supply of compressed air, so the difference between the Model 810002M’s compressed air consumption (2.3 SCFM @80psig) and the Model 800001M E-Vac High Vacuum (Non-Porous Duty) Generator w/Muffler (1.5 SCFM @80psig) was worth considering. Also, we figured that they might be able to use a Model 900804 Check Valve, so the only time they’d need to supply air was to pick it up, and, possibly intermittently to maintain the vacuum. So, golf ball in hand, off to the Efficiency Lab I went. I also took our trusty video camera:
As you can see, it locked on to the golf ball instantly, and the Check Valve allowed the Vacuum Cup to hold the ball for over 13 seconds with no air flow to the E-Vac, proving that there isn’t much leakage at all past those dimples. I suspect we’ll be seeing this robotics class team in the winner’s circle at the competition.
In most cases, the difference between 1.5 SCFM and 2.3 SCFM consumption may go unnoticed when picking a short-duration pick-and place vacuum generator. The higher usage product’s supply pressure can always be regulated down to reduce compressed air consumption and use only what’s necessary to do the task…we, in fact, recommend that on ANY compressed air application. In this case, though, it was worth finding out.
If you have a pick-and-place application that you’d like help with in selecting the right system, give me a call.