I Pick Things Up & I Put Them Down

This past weekend in Columbus, OH was a sporting event hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger.  This event has many aspects of it and this past weekend was the first year where spectators were not permitted due to the COVID-19 risks and scares.  The caterer for the event had already prepped all of the food to prepare for thousands of people so instead of donating locally, they connected with head chefs in Nashville, TN to create a “tailgate extravaganza” to try and lift the community up after the recent tornado and storms ravaged the area and demolished homes as well as communities.  The Arnold still happened, with participants only, they were all, “Picking Things Up and Putting Them Down.”

Arnold Sport’s World Record Lift

Seeing these giant athletes perform deadlifts always reminds me of the EXAIR Adjustable E-Vacs and how they are used frequently to pick things up and put them down.  When determining the correct Adjustable E-Vac I always like to start with the shape, weight, and surface of the part.  This is how I determine which vacuum cup can be utilized.  The good news is as a customer, the choice doesn’t have to be made alone, that is why the Application Engineering team is here, we’ll help you determine which vacuum cup will suit the given application.

These are all examples of how an E-Vac pick-and-place system is just a solenoid valve away from automation.

Some of the factors we use to determine the suction cup is listed out below.

Is the lift going to be a vertical cup lift or a horizontal cup lift?  This means is the face of the cup vertical, picking up a box from the ground by the sides, or is it going to be horizontal where the face of the cup sits horizontally over the part.

For a vertical cup face, if lifting the part up vertically then a bellows cup will not be suitable and something with a cleat will be needed due to the rigidity of the cup to help keep the cup and part stable.  The bellows may collapse due to the weight of the product, where the cleats will interface with the part and create a solid connection to aid in the lift.

For a horizontal cup face, if lifting the part up vertically then a bellows cup would work ideal in the event the surface is uneven.  Maybe one end is slightly taller, in this scenario, a bellows cup would help the cups to all seal to the surface and still be able to pick up the item.  These cups are also thinner to help adapt to an irregular surface on the part or to help keep suction if the part deforms upon being picked up. The bellows is not recommended for rather heavy objects as the bellows may collapse under extensive load and cause the cup to lose suction.

Talking about the weight of the item, this also becomes a major factor as each cup has a maximum lifting weight and that is determined by the surface area of the cup as well as whether it has cleats, bellows, or just a plain cup.  Our goal when sizing the cups to the parts is to ensure they are going to engage the surface in a solid secure manner that makes the lifting rig safe and stable to use.

For example, take a look at this solar lens manufacturer who utilizes many EXAIR products in this pick and place operation.

If you would like to discuss your Adjustable E-Vac, Vacuum Cup, or heavy lifting, please contact me.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer


The 2020 ASF Media Room – Arnold Sports Festival, 2020 – https://www.arnoldsportsfestival.com/visitor-info/media/


Batting Practice

The First Day of Spring yesterday ushered in the first “real” practice for my son’s baseball team. The coach’s teenage son (and built-in assistant coach) participated in a baseball workshop over the winter, where they studied Albert Pujols’ batting technique, and developed a regimen around it. They broke it up in a series of exercises, targeting the motions of the individual body parts, that, when combined, will produce in these boys the slugging prowess of the future Hall of Famer. But, when they’re running through the motions individually, it’s very entertaining to watch…when they’re all lined up next to the coach’s son doing them, it looks like a Broadway dance routine…and 12-year old boys HATE to dance. They also hate it when their dads laugh at them for dancing.

Time will tell if all of this pays off…the coach himself is going out on a limb here, deviating from typical Knothole hitting practices that go back to at least the 1970’s, when I was a struggling young ball player. To be honest, my best bet for getting on base was to lean in and take a pitch to the ribs (that area of my body was larger than most kids’ anyway). Regardless of the outcome, though, nothing beats watching a good Knothole baseball game, so I’m really looking forward to the next few months.

I hope it works, but I suppose if he sees it not working at all, the coach can still go back to the tried & true “basics” come mid-season. It’s always nice to have options when your best laid plans don’t quite hit the mark in the real world. At EXAIR, that’s where our 30-Day Unconditional Guarantee comes in to play. As much as we can learn about your application, it may come down to a decision to try something out and see if “looks good on paper” can get to “mission accomplished.”

I can’t wait to see these guys start slugging home runs off of unsuspecting pitchers here in a few weeks. One way or the other.  It’s been a long winter…play ball!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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