Vacuum handling improves machining efficiency

Vacuum-assisted handling and turning of solid-wood workbench tops permits a changeover from manual to automatic edge machining.

The new generation of vacuum lifting devices of the series VacuMaster Basic/Comfort are worthy successors to their predecessors, which have proved their value in thousands of applications. This is due, above all, to the innovative and functional design, which is based on so-called longitudinal beams. These beams, made of anodized, extruded aluminium sections, act as load carriers, vacuum reservoirs and vacuum distributors. This does away with the need for many hoses, which tend to get in the way, and also saves weight. The modular system, which consists of only a few components, makes it easy to construct vacuum lifting devices for almost any application.

There are three basic versions of the lifting devices (for horizontal handling and for turning the workpiece by 90° or 180°). The horizontal versions can lift loads between 75 and 750kg, while the versions for turning the workpiece can handle loads of up to 500 (90° turning) or 250kg (180° turning). The workpieces are turned with the aid of an electric linear drive. The operator controls all functions of the lifting device with push buttons on the operator handle. This principle is particularly advantageous when handling unwieldy workpieces, since it permits the operator to move and position the load (suspended on a crane and the lifting device) quickly, safely and precisely. The low overall height of the lifting devices with the turning option means that the turning of workpieces can be mechanized even in restricted spaces or in rooms with low ceilings.


Workpiece handling with vacuum for more productivity and quality

The technical benefits and the simple handling also convinced a manufacturer of workbenches and tool trolleys, who was looking for a way of rationalizing the machining of the edges of workbench tops. These tops are made of solid wood, with dimensions up to 2,000 x 1,000mm and thicknesses of 25, 40 or 50mm. The workbench tops thus weigh up to 100kg each, and manual handling is possible only with at least two persons. Although the sawing and surface machining were already executed semi-automatically or fully automatically, the machining of the edges was still being done with hand-held machines. A further problem was that the workbench tops had to be turned over to permit the machining of the top and bottom edges, which meant that the machining and handling was relatively time-consuming.

For this reason, the responsible persons at the company invested in a new CNC machining centre. In order to make best use of the capacity of this machining centre, the company also invested in a vacuum handling system for loading the machine, turning the workpieces and removing the finished workbench tops. The handling system selected for this task was a crane-mounted vacuum lifting device VacuMaster Comfort 125-180°-2 made by Schmalz (represented by Millsom Materials Handling IN Australia & New Zealand).



Vacuum lifting equipment can save you in many ways:

1.       One person can often do the job it would normally take two or more to do.

2.       OH&S claims are almost nil with the correct lifting system in place.

Finance can be organized for most applicants meaning minimal outlay for instant returns.

For further information visit Millsom Materials Handling at