E-Vacs and Upholstery

Recently, I was working with a customer in Morocco. They had approached me with an idea and were wondering if we could help out. The customer is a furniture manufacturer and they have to upholster various, large items which can be quite difficult to maneuver as needed to get to all parts during the process.

They have a work table with an upper plate that moves on a ball at the top of a pedestal. The arrangement allows the operator to manipulate the table in all directions.


Currently, they have to temporarily fasten the base to the table with hardware. Their aim is to equip the table with vacuum cups and thus secure a board (chipboard or MDF) to the top of the table so the upholsterer can wrap with leather or fabric panel all the way around.  Pictured below is an example of one of the headboards they would intend to upholster while mounted to this swiveling type table top with vacuum cups.

Richb 28

The panel is made of MDF or particle board. The max size is: 1500 x 1200 x 16mm, and max weight 50 kgs.

This application is a bit different from a normal pick and place application where the vacuum cups must support the full weight of an item. Quite the reverse is true. All the vacuum cups need to to is to keep the MDF board in place (because they will be inverted) while the upholsterer applies the fabric wrapping.

After some thought, I came up with a single E-vac generator model 820008M (Modular, Porous E-vac, with a straight through muffler installed. Connected to that vacuum generator would be (4) model 900759 vacuum cups mounted onto four corners of the “table top”. I decided to use the Porous E-vac style because even though MDF material is quite flat and smooth, there could always be some dust or other debris which could prevent the vacuum cups from completely sealing. The straight through muffler attenuates the sound level of the exhaust down to a very reasonable level. And the four cups together have capability of holding upwards of 133 kgs. The maximum part weight is going to be 50 kgs, so we are well within reasonable safety margins on this build.

I thought it would be good for our customers to see how we go through a recommendation process for an application that isn’t your standard vacuum cup pick and place application. If you have any questions about your application, contact us and we will be sure to help.

Neal Raker, Application Engineer