Glass Industry
A Guide on How to Choose the Best Industrial Vacuum Suction Cup

A Guide on How to Choose the Best Industrial Vacuum Suction Cup

Various industries take advantage of vacuum technology. Choosing the right industrial vacuum suction cup is vital; however, how can we know that the best cup is selected? What criteria or factors affect the selection? Take a look at this article so you can find a complete guide on choosing the most appropriate vacuum suction cup for your business.

Calculate vacuum suction force

The procedure of selecting an industrial vacuum suction cup starts with the calculation of the theoretical holding force of the workpiece. It is the force that the suction cups create to lift and hold the workpiece in place safely.

Several factors affect the calculation and the selection, for example, the application of this technology, and ambient conditions, which include the material of the workpiece and its surfaces.

Before heading into the force calculation, there is a suggestion for using a checklist. There are questions to be answered. For example: How much does the workpiece weigh? What kind of surface finish does it have? What resistance requirements and areas of the application must the vacuum generator fulfill?

After collecting data through several questions, the next step is to apply the formula for calculating the vacuum suction force needed.

F=PxA, where:

  • F is holding / vacuum force
  • P is pressure
  • A is the effective contact area

However, before moving to that step, experts in choosing an industrial vacuum suction cup advise selecting the suction gripper first based on the surface finish of the workpiece as well as the construction and shape of the cup.

Construction and shape of industrial vacuum suction cup

The creation of different sizes and designs for industrial vacuum suction cups is mainly because of the variety of suction power capabilities for a wide range of applications. For example, lifting, holding, and transporting in the wood, glass, and metal industry.

Categorized by designs

Depending on the workpiece’s surface finish, various suction cup shapes are advised for the suction gripper. 

There are two main design categories for vacuum-cup families. They are flat and bellows style. Besides, there is also an extra deep style to increase the force pressure.

Standard suction cup

The standard suction cup can also be called a flat suction cup. It has a flat contact point. This type of vacuum suction cup is mainly used for flat and slightly undulating surfaces (e.g. sheet metal, wood, cardboard, or cartons).

When handling large shear forces, flat suction cups are perfectly designed to have good rigidity and stability. Additionally, they can withstand the power and accelerations caused by quick automated handling movements.

Another highlighted point of a flat suction cup is that it can be optimal for highly structured surfaces. This style can come with a wide range of diameters for selection.

Although flat vacuum cups with vacuum suction plates require less air to be evacuated, they are less flexible than their bellows-style relatives.

Bellows suction cup

An accordion-like design on the bellows suction cup makes it more flexible and enables the gripping of objects with irregular forms or those not perfectly aligned with the cup.

In these circumstances, the system requires a more robust vacuum flow to expel the greater volume of air from the vacuum cup. Therefore, the bellows suction cup is used as a cost-effective height compensator.

Businesses can also use bellows suction cups for inclined surfaces varying from 5° to 30° depending upon suction cup diameter. The design makes it perform well on undulating, round surfaces. Workpieces with large surface areas or fragile cannot cause trouble for this type of suction cup.

Categorized by shapes

While a round industrial vacuum suction cup is the default design, applying to multiple surfaces, an oval vacuum suction cup can be more suitable for a narrow surface, elongated surface, or oblong workpieces such as thin rails, profiles, and pipes.

Bell-shaped vacuum suction cups, however, are becoming more common. The fundamental benefit of this design is that the bell-shaped body easily sticks to convex or concave surfaces due to a finely tuned internal friction, or tread, pattern made to endure strong shear pressures.


Additionally, some sorts of surfaces can affect the selection of industrial vacuum suction cups. They are rough (wood, stone), smooth (glass), dry, and have oily surfaces.

Most workpiece surfaces are dry, but some have a thin layer of oil on their surface. It can be a workpiece after processing surface to minimal marking or under antistatic transform. For example, prior to the stamping step, sheet metal is coated with rust inhibitors, which may have an oily shine.

Regarding contour, choosing a cup is based on whether the material is flat, slightly flat, curved, or has rounded edges. A suction cup will not always function securely if an object has too many curves or undulations. Additionally, items with too many holes closely spaced do not work with vacuum cups.

Other Considerations

Choosing the most appropriate industrial vacuum suction cups cannot be an easy task since they are also available in a wide range of material options (e.g. nitrile rubber, polyurethane, silicon, etc) and come up with many accessories to increase safety (e.g. double safety lips, ultra-thin lips, and robust lips).

Engineers must certainly choose the appropriate industrial suction cup type and then calculate the holding force based on both internal and external factors. 

Cup size, vacuum level, leakage rates, product weight, coefficient of friction on the workpiece’s surface, and the amount and direction of stresses and accelerations are some examples of internal parameters. Environmental factors include weather conditions and atmospheric pressure.

Concerning the safety and financial effectiveness, many organizations seek assistance from EUROTECH, a professional in industrial vacuum suction cups, to help them calculate and discover the most reasonable solution.

Enterprises can avoid wasting time on a bundle of steps such as acquiring information, assessing it against their requirements, identifying the suitable specifications for the intended application, and then conducting the appropriate tests to identify the optimal vacuum cup.

Share with EUROTECH your application objectives and technical requirements today! Let us solve your business problem with the most suitable solutions.