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Hi pros,
we have recently been asked by a client to change the vacuum generator they had on their existing robot. They had a vacuum generator that when it was on, it was always consuming air to keep the vacuum strong and on. The client received the visit from a representative of Coval products. They were presented the Coval Lemax vacuum generator. We then got the contract to replace the unit they have with a
Coval Lemax. This devices lets you select a range of vacuum pressure. In our example we simply set a desired vacuum % and a lower limit vacuum %. When we go an pick the object, we activate the vacuum generator. Air is consumed until desired vacuum % as been reached. Then air consumption is turned off. If the vacuum % drops below lower limit, air consumption is started back until desired value is reached again.
In the video below, we have a desired vacuum % of 85% and a lower limit of 75%.

We only need two digital output on the robot to make this work (we can also use an input to the robot to monitor vacuum and see if an object has been picked). The outputs on the robot are their to start/stop the vacuum and the second output is to blow off the object when we are releasing it.

What else are you guys using for vacuum pick and place?


@Sebastien Coval Rep had visited us as well a few months back talking about this new system but didn't have one to demo.  We have used the Coval smart generators before and thought that they work very well, nice quiet units with great built-in feedback.  Anxious to use one of these on our next vacuum project.

We are also looking at the
Joulin Flexigrip as it has this really cool vacuum pad that is a foam pad with lots of holes in it.  The cool part is you can have holes that are exposed and it will still pick things up.  It uses check balls at each of the holes to either seal to the item being picked or seal that port off.  It truly is a very flexible gripper system for vacuum allowing you to design one configuration and then pick up a variety of parts.  We have played with one on the past for a customer application and it would have worked great had they gone forward.  We are testing it again on another application where we have to be able to handle a very wide range of parts making a normal vacuum system much more complex to design.