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Handling and lifting with vacuum

Vacuum handling and vacuum lifting. Methods for gently moving parts from one place to another. Or for fixing them in a certain position during processing.

Suction cups for vacuum handling

How does handling and lifting with vacuum work?

Nowadays, it is inconceivable to imagine modern production processes without handling and lifting goods with the help of vacuum. How else would it be possible to stack cardboards quickly and reliably, to move glass panels, hold wooden components for milling, or load and unload heavy items from ships or vehicles?

The idea is as simple as ingenious.
A suction cup, vacuum plate or vacuum table is used to apply suction. And thus, hold an object firmly.
A suction cup, vacuum plate or vacuum table is used to apply suction. And thus, hold an object firmly. This extremely effective method allows to move, lift, or transport objects and supply materials to production processes. Or to clamp parts gently and reliably during processing.

Vacuum technology is therefore used in many automated production processes. For example, in woodworking to move wooden parts through the entire production line and to hold them in place on the machining equipment. But also for pick and place applications in the electronics, food and packaging industry. And even in the printing industry, to transport individual sheets of paper without wrinkling them.

Busch vacuum technology in handling and lifting with vacuum

Different vacuum technologies are used depending on the material, size, and surface qualities. If the material has a high permeability, side channel blowers are a good choice. For freshly cut wood, oil-lubricated rotary vane or dry claw vacuum pumps can be used. For all other materials with a smooth surface, dry-running rotary vane vacuum pumps are the perfect choice for holding, lifting, or transporting.

With our extensive product range, we offer the perfect solution for every handling and lifting application. Whatever your process, whatever your requirements.

Learn more about handling and lifting with vacuum

What is vacuum handling or lifting?

The principle of handling and lifting is similar. A product like a bag, a wooden plate, a plastic sheet, or an injection-molded part is pressed into a sucker connected to a vacuum unit. The part is firmly fixed at the sucker due to the differential pressure. In this way, the product can be fixed for machining or moved from one point to another.

Where can vacuum be used in handling and lifting processes?

Handling and lifting are typical vacuum applications in automatized processes. For example, at robots, production machines, for injection molding and palletizing. A suction cup, vacuum plate or vacuum table is used to apply suction. And thus, hold an object firmly.

What are the advantages of vacuum handling or lifting over alternative mechanical technologies?

Vacuum handling and lifting technologies are flexible regarding the shape and surface of the products. The use of vacuum suckers avoids mechanical damage to the product. Vacuum handling and lifting installations are also much more compact than mechanical installations.

What are the best vacuum pumps for handling and lifting?

Due to the varied tasks performed by handling and lifting equipment, the range of vacuum pumps for these applications is comprehensive. It goes from dry-running and oil-lubricated rotary vane pumps though to side channel blowers.

What are the best vacuum pumps from Busch for handling and lifting processes?

The Busch products of choice for handling and lifting applications are SECO and R5 series of dry-running and oil-lubricated rotary vane vacuum pumps. Depending on the application, SAMOS side channel blowers, MINK claw vacuum pumps or TYR rotary lobe blowers might also be a very good fit.

What are some examples for the use of Busch vacuum technology in handling and lifting applications?

Busch vacuum technology is used in automated materials handling in production processes, stacking of packed units on pallets, as well as loading and unloading of ships, vehicles, and other means of transport. It is also employed for the clamping of items to woodwork machinery, packaging of a wide variety of articles and for the transport of paper for printing and processing machines. Furthermore, Busch vacuum technology plays a role in pick and place for many industries, including electronics, food, and parts packaging.

What are the key points to consider when buying a vacuum handling/lifting system?

The most important factors to think about when buying a vacuum handling or lifting system are the material and the weight of the workpiece, the diameter and number of suction cups as well as the acceleration of the robot arm.

Vacuum handling in the packaging industry

Vacuum handling in the packaging industry
How do cartoning machines work?

Cartoning machines are commonly used to assemble cartons, to fill and finally close them. In a first step, the machine picks a carton blank, folds, and erects it. The carton boxes created in this way are then filled with products such as medicine blisters, bottled foodstuffs, or cosmetics. Before they are finally closed and sealed.

Vacuum plays an essential role in this type of packaging. It is, for example, applied to pick a single piece of carton blank from a stack with the help of suction cups. But also, to erect the folded carton.

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Vacuum handling in the woodworking industry

Vacuum handling in the wood industry
How do handling and clamping devices in the woodworking industry work?

Vacuum is used in various process steps in the woodworking industry. Not only to transport the workpieces within the production line, but also to fix the parts on woodworking machinery while they are being processed.

One of the most important vacuum applications in woodworking is clamping on CNC routers and other machining equipment. Here, the holding force of vacuum is used to quickly and securely fasten various panel materials or solid wood parts. Without leaving any pressure marks or damaging the wood. There are three different clamping methods using vacuum on various CNC routers or machining centers: Grid tables, nesting on grid tables and consoles with vacuum blocks.

Handling equipment and assembly robots also often get their holding force from vacuum. In the end of the production line, for example, robots fitted with a vacuum suction device often come to play to stack the finalized items on pallets.

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Handling and lifting with vacuum in practice

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  • Energy-Efficient Vacuum Supply in the Production of Windshields

    Energy-Efficient Vacuum Supply in the Production of Windshields

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Learn more about vacuum packaging

What is vacuum packaging?

Vacuum packaging is the technique of removing air from a package containing a product, usually food, before it is sealed airtight. The air and thus the oxygen are extracted, and the product is conserved.

How does a vacuum packaging system work?

The product to be packaged is placed in a bag, on a tray or between two vacuum-tight foils. Inside a vacuum chamber or a sealing station, this package is then evacuated by means of a vacuum pump. After reaching the respective target vacuum, the package is sealed. For certain products, a specifically defined gas mixture is introduced into the packaging prior to sealing. This is called modified atmosphere packaging (MAP).

Where is vacuum used in the packaging process?

Vacuum frequently plays an essential role in packaging processes. In the production of packages, vacuum is, for example, used for thermoforming. Vacuum is also employed in tray sealing, chamber packaging, thermoforming and bag filling packaging machines and in many other packaging applications. Furthermore, vacuum is used for pick and place during the packaging process, as well as for handling of packages.

What are the advantages of vacuum packaging over alternative packaging technologies?

Vacuum packaging is a cost-effective and economical way of protecting goods – both hygienically and mechanically. The air, and thus the oxygen, are evacuated from the packaging prior to the sealing of the package. This offers the advantage of protecting the packaged goods against the growth of oxygen-dependent bacteria which is especially important when it comes to packaging of foodstuffs. Dehydration of the product is also greatly reduced. Due to the limited contact with oxygen, vacuum-packaged foodstuffs keep their quality, taste, smell, and appearance for a long time and their shelf-life is thus extended.

What are the best vacuum pumps for packaging?

Rotary vane vacuum pumps are the first choice for vacuum packaging. Dry screw vacuum pumps, vacuum boosters, liquid ring vacuum pumps, claw vacuum pumps and rotary lobe blowers also have specific roles in packaging. All of them offer their own distinct advantage depending on the specific application.

What are the best vacuum pumps from Busch for the packaging process?

The most suitable vacuum generators for packaging are R5 rotary vane vacuum pumps, COBRA dry screw vacuum pumps, PANDA/PUMA vacuum boosters, MINK dry claw vacuum pumps and DOLPHIN liquid ring vacuum pumps. The choice of the optimum product depends on the specific process requirements. But also, on the priorities of the customer.

What are some examples for the use of Busch vacuum technology in packaging applications?

Busch is the market leader in vacuum technology for food packaging. With more than 3 million R5 rotary vane vacuum pumps delivered into the vacuum packaging market worldwide. Our solutions are present in most chamber packaging machines, thermoforming packaging machines, tray sealing machines and bag filling machines throughout the world.

How is vacuum packaging used in the food industry?

The reduction of oxygen in the package by around a factor of 200 achieved by vacuum packaging of fresh foodstuffs makes it possible to maintain the quality, appearance, freshness, and flavor of the packaged product. The growth of aerobic bacteria and thus the oxidation and degradation of the product are prevented. This, in turn, helps to drastically reduce global food waste.

In addition, vacuum packaging allows for an attractive presentation of the product, especially convenience food, at the point of sale with the consumer.

For certain products, a special gas mixture is introduced into the package before it is finally sealed. This technique is called modified atmosphere packaging (MAP).

What are the key points to consider when buying a vacuum system for packaging purposes?

Cycle time, chamber size, evacuation time, uptime, reliability, warm-up time and availability. These are key factors to consider when deciding what packaging machine to purchase. Worth noting are also the manpower required, energy and foil consumption, maintenance, and overhaul costs as well as floor space.

However, there is no one-size-fits-all vacuum packaging solution. For purposes of designing the best solution for your needs, more general factors can also be taken into consideration:

Peace of mind
The best vacuum system is the one you never have to worry about. It should deliver the required performance. And run seamlessly and reliably. This is achieved by choosing the vacuum pump best suited to the application in question and the specific requirements.

Extended lifetime
To extend the lifetime of a vacuum system several factors should be considered. For example, the use of the right technology and the right pump configuration. Another consideration is the proper use of the system. Following the operating instructions and regular maintenance is recommended.

Money savings by system upgrade
Your processes, including the vacuum demand, may have changed. This leads to the questions: Is it still well adapted to your needs? Is it still operating as energy-efficiently as possible? When it is time to upgrade or replace a vacuum system, it is worth looking at the entire installation. Try to identify together with an expert any potential for optimization. Modern technologies can increase productivity and save money by reducing operating costs and energy consumption.