Suction Solutions

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities and you.

Suction Solutions

Designers often look to nature for ideas that can be implemented in new products. Octopus suction cups provide an interesting pressure example.

When the octopus’ sucker is sealed to a surface, contraction of its radial muscles thins the wall of the sucker which tends to increase the enclosed volume.  However, the cohesiveness of water resists volume expansion and the pressure of the enclosed water decreases instead. With this mechanism, an octopus can create a pressure differential of 100-200 kPa (14.5-29 psi) at sea level and generate a significant amount of force.

Suction cups allow professional glazers to easily pick up and move large pieces of glass. One company offers a Vacuum Cup Octopus with Pump that can lift a maximum weight of 185 kg (407.9 lbs.) vertically with a 300-mm (11.8-in) diameter vacuum cup. One version includes a manual vacuum pump with a leak gauge to monitor the effectiveness of the suction.

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Source: Vacuum Cup Octopus with Pump

Vacuum suction cups offer a versatile method of material handling. In fact, suction cups also allow robots to pick different smooth surfaced objects. The approach has been applied to the robotics field since the 1960s. One recent research effort focuses on suction cups that can be used on robots designed to perform tasks in unstructured and contaminated environments. Of course, monitoring the amount of vacuum (negative pressure) with an accurate and rugged microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) pressure sensor can provide an even greater amount of control to more sophisticated suction applications.

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