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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
By replacing our vacuum pumps with Busch products, the susceptibility to failures could be reduced while the service life of the pumps has been extended. Moreover, we profit from a better support than with the previous pump manufacturer.
Hermann Feichtenschlager, Technical Processor at AMAG, Ranshofen/Austria

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 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.

Why are vacuum pumps more effective than venturi ejectors?

Venturi ejectors, also called vacuum ejectors, use compressed air or steam to generate vacuum.

A high-pressure stream, also called motive, is forced through a nozzle and converts pressure into velocity. A low-pressure area is created around the tip of the nozzle, called the suction chamber, which draws in a second gas from a process vessel. The two gases mix, forming a double gas stream. As it travels through the discharge side, the double gas stream slows down and regains pressure before it is discharged through a silencer. This process is known as the Venturi effect, named after the Italian scientist Giovanni Battista Venturi (1746-1822).

Vacuum pumps are more effective than venturi ejectors in every way. They consume significantly less energy, do not use compressed air, and, most importantly, achieve much higher vacuum levels. Venturi ejectors are actually only suitable for processes in which an excess of compressed air is available.

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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