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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Flat Suction Cups

When you’re working with a cup that needs to stay in place on its own, or in an area where you can’t use tape or other fasteners, suction cups are the answer. Flat suction cups have a smooth surface, so they won’t catch and rip your walls, furniture, etc. when you remove them. These are the ones you want! 

If you’re reading this article, you probably need some help understanding the different types of suction cups. Are all those letters supposed to mean something? What is the best one for my application? Can they withstand a certain amount of force? Is it necessary to have waterproof ones? Are silicone-coated ones necessary? To begin, let’s talk about why you should invest in a flat suction cup before we delve into the nitty-gritty details of each type.

What are Flat Suction Cups?

A flat suction cup is ideal for use when manipulating surfaces that are either completely smooth or only minimally structured. There is a diverse range of options available for the construction of industrial suction cups. Ribs can be created in a variety of different forms to accommodate the many different surfaces of workpieces. The changeable suction cup design and the vulcanized design are both included in the flat vacuum cup portfolio.

Why Use Suction Cups?

Use a flat suction cup when working with workpieces that have flat or slightly curved surfaces, such as metal and glass plates, plastic sheets, and wooden boards. Since the inside volume of a flat suction cup is small, it can be quickly grasped and released from its target. They have been built properly and have good stability to deal with significant shear forces, so they can withstand the stresses and accelerations that come with fast automated-handling movements.

Types of Flat Suction Cups

Smooth or lightly structured surfaces are ideal for using a flat suction cup. Industrial suction cups can be made from many different substances. Various rib configurations are developed to accommodate specific workpiece surfaces. Both a vulcanized and a removable suction cup design can be found in the assortment of flat suction cups. 

The types of flat suction cups available on the market are listed below. 

  1. Ultra-thin lip flat suction cup – suitable for food packaging.
  2. Universal flat suction cup – best for use with a variety of workpieces varying in size and form
  3. Small flat suction cup – Suitable for handling small workpieces in the electronic industry
  4. Big flat suction cup – best for wood and metal sheet.
  5. The Flat suction cup – special for the wood industry.
  6. Flat suction cup special for meta sheet – Suitable for workpieces with different sizes and shapes on thick metal plates.
  7. Flat Suction Cup Special For Objects With Rough Surface – best for wood, metal sheet, and glass
  8. High-temperature suction cup – Excellent high-temperature resistance can achieve long time contact with the workpiece
  9. PU Flat suction cup – best for carton packaging
  10. Annular suction cup – best for firm installation of metal sheet.

Which Type of Flat Suction Cup Should I Buy?

A flat suction cup on the end of an arm is a common piece of tooling in automated handling systems because of how useful they are at grasping and transporting a wide variety of objects, from soda cans to automobile fenders. They can be found in an almost infinite range of varieties, shapes, sizes, and materials. Here are some broad engineering principles to keep in mind while deciding which one to use.

Construction

Simple, round forms are great for general-purpose handling, while extra-deep cups are great for picking up round or highly curved surfaces, and oval shapes are great for taking up long, thin objects. For example, these cups may have molded-in ribs on the outside for reinforcement or nubs on the inside for improved mating part contact.

Shape

A flat suction cup can be found in either a flattened or bellows configuration. Flat vacuum cups, such as those used for working with metal and glass plates, plastic sheets, and wooden boards, are ideal for moving and positioning such items. They are designed to withstand the stresses and accelerations associated with rapid automated-handling movements and have sufficient rigidity and stability to deal with strong shear forces.

Interior Volume

Internal space is directly proportional to the cup’s outside form. This is significant because this is the volume that needs to be removed in order to generate a vacuum strong enough to retain a workpiece for grasping and removal. A flat suction cup has little internal volume, so it empties rapidly and may be grasped in a hurry. The total volume of a gripper system is equal to the sum of the inner volumes of all the cups in the system plus the volumes of any tubing and connectors. Engineers can then determine how quickly a system can grab a part by calculating the evacuation time from the vacuum flow capacity. Lastly, think about how long it will take to fill the cup with air,  release the workpiece from the vacuum, and release the vacuum.

Materials

Suppliers of vacuum cups typically have a wide range of models to accommodate a wide range of uses. Common types include nitrile rubber (NBR), which is inexpensive, provides excellent oil resistance, and is often used for general-purpose purposes; silicone, which is safe for use in food applications; natural rubber, which is well-suited for working with wood; polyurethane, which has excellent wear resistance and high strength; and fluoroelastomers, which are resistant to chemicals and the elements. Materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and ethylene propylene rubber (EPDM) are also frequently used. Some are available in anti-static varieties, which are especially useful for working with electronic devices.

Environment

Suction cups may need to be resistant to ozone, oils, washdown chemicals, and steam, depending on the environment and the nature of the application. It’s not just the working environment that might be dangerous, but also the workpieces themselves. For instance, the temperature range for some silicone compounds is roughly -20 to 350 °F (-30 to 180 °C), whereas, for fluoroelastomers, it’s approximately 400 °F (200 °C).

What’s Important When Buying a Flat Suction Cup?

How exactly do you choose a flat suction cup? The flat suction cups’ perks include quite a few options available and adaptable materials in a wide range of forms. Additionally,  there are several degrees of thermal resistance. Think about these factors while deciding on your cup size, number, material, and design:

  1. The magnitude of the item that is being worked with
  2. Weight
  3. Orientation
  4. We’re talking about the surface temperature here.
  5. Conditions
  6. Possibility of attaching the holders there

Summing Up

When applied to a smooth, nonporous surface, the flat suction cup performs its function most effectively. And then, when a vacuum is generated, the rim of the cup firmly seals off the interior from the surrounding air, and the interior is promptly evacuated, which provides the grip with a stable base on the workpiece.

In practice, however, materials are typically porous, rough, or uneven, which results in situations that fall short of being ideal. Because the cups are not making a good enough seal, there is a continuous flow of air into the system.  Therefore, particular considerations need to be taken into account when selecting flat suction cups for use in the type of industry that is being worked on in order to avoid causing any damage while the procedure is being carried out. This is to ensure that the work that is being done is not compromised in any way.

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