Our Chinese distributor had a customer who was producing the aluminum pieces that are formed into wheels for the automotive industry. Their process involved saw cutting large diameter, aluminum bar stock so it could be further processed.
The problem was once the parts were saw cut, they were slippery and difficult to handle. So, the customer was looking for a good way to handle these parts that was safe and effective for the operator as well. Our distributor offered the idea of using vacuum cups and an EXAIR E-vac for the project.
We determined that the aluminum raw stock that would be picked up would have an effective diameter of 254 mm on which vacuum cups could pick up the part for transfer. Also, the parts could weigh up to 45 kilos. So, we needed to find a vacuum cup (or cups) that could pick up that much weight with the surface area allotted to us. After reviewing our options, we came to the conclusions that (3) model 900759 vacuum cups would have a combined lifting capacity of 100 kilos when powered at -71 kPa vacuum. These vacuum cups have a 108 mm diameter and so can fit nicely in a triangular orientation on the saw cut area of the aluminum part.
Then came the part where we recommend which E-vac generator to use. We already calculated in our usual 2X safety factor for weight being lifted. So we are quite confident that the cups can do their job as long as sufficient vacuum could be maintained. We are lifting solid aluminum, so we know the material is non-porous. So, that’s the version of the E-vacs we will take into consideration for the project.
The part about determining which E-vac to recommend is not as clear cut and well defined as picking the vacuum cups is. So we must use our best judgement based on the weight of the item, the size and number of vacuum cups being used, and the surface finish of the material. Since the material will be somewhat on the heavy side and it would be a real problem if it were dropped, I recommended our distributor go with one E-vac vacuum generator per each vacuum cup. The vacuum generator I recommended was from the middle of the available models from a performance standpoint. That was model 810008M (8.4 SCFM Non-porous E-vac with straight through muffler). In this way, if one cup were to lose vacuum for whatever unforeseen reason, the other two could still support the full weight of the object as it is being lifted and moved.
Once the customer had their lifting fixture fabricated and the E-vacs with vacuum cups mounted, the lifting unit worked very well to address the customer’s concerns about worker productivity and safety.
E-vacs can be used for a variety of tasks, but lifting and placing applications tend to be the more prevalent ones. If you have a lifting or moving application of your own and think that vacuum technology might be useful, contact us with your questions. We thrive on helping folks like you solve such problems in industry.