Cleaning and Storage of Suction Cups

How to clean suction cups properly, according to technical guidelines

Vacuum suction cups for industrial use, if businesses want them to be durable and the safest, they must know how to clean suction cups properly and reasonably store them. 

The suction cup cleaning and maintenance instructions presented here are based on international standards DIN 7716. All are fundamental instructions that users should know and apply.

Why concern suction cup storage and cleaning matter?

First, industrial working environments, especially wood processing, metal cutting, and timber industry, contain a lot of dust. The impurities that adhere to the suction cup’s surface will reduce its friction and suction. This situation greatly affects the safety when operating the vacuum suction device.

In addition, most construction materials of vacuum suction cups are rubber and they change in physical properties during storage. The end of this stage of quality change renders them unusable due to excessive hardness, softness, crazing, cracking, or other surface degradation. This can result from one or multiple particular factors, or it can derive from a combination of factors such as the action of deformation, oils, solvents, oxygen, ozone, heat, light, and humidity.

EUROTECH often gets asked from clients what we would recommend on how to clean suction cups, how to store them properly, and how to make suction cups work better. Proper maintenance and cleaning of vacuum cups and seals are critical in significantly extending the life of the vacuum equipment and ensuring safe operating procedures.

How to clean suction cups properly?

International standards applied by EUROTECH to provide recommendations for cleaning, storing, and maintaining vacuum suctions cups include: DIN 7716, DIN 9088, and ISO 2230. The precautions and recommendations to maintain the elastomer elements depend on material classes.

In case the industrial vacuum suction cups require regular recurrent cleaning, it is necessary to gently clean the vacuum cups, using only warm water and soap.

However, if chemical assistance is needed, methylated spirits and surfactant cleaning solvents (neutral pH value) can be used with caution in handling. 

Water should not contact fabric-reinforced components, bonded seals (due to corrosive nature), or polyurethane rubbers. A soft bristle brush or ultrasonic cleaning device can also be used if additional mechanical treatment is required. Avoid using any sharp-edged objects (e.g. metal brushes, abrasive paper).

In the case of cleaning rubber and metal combination parts, a mixture of glycerine and ethanol (ratio 1:10) can be used. After an extended period of storage, from 6 up to 8 months, a 1.5% soda bicarbonate solution can be used to clean the vacuum suction cups may be cleaned. But remember to rewash with water.

The following types of solutions should not be used to clean suction cups under any circumstances:

  • Disinfectants
  • Vinegar-based cleaning products
  • Pure solvents, pure glycerine, or pure ethanol
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Hydrocarbons

 

After cleaning, the cups can be driedy at room temperature with good ventilation and not placed near any heat source.

Storage Time / Shelf life

The shelf life of vacuum suction cups also depends on the type of material made. When stored in recommended condition, the given shelf life below should also be examined

Rubber Material Storage Time

Temperature

On one side, the storage temperature should be around +15°C. It should not be below -10°C and above +25°C. The low temperature might cause the material to be stiffer. On another side, the hot environment may harden the rubber and change its physical properties or reduce its performance data.

Lighting

The rubber products should avoid exposure to light, in particular from direct sunlight or artificial light with high ultraviolet. The appearance and physical properties of the products would be changed.

Deformation

Storing suction cups in a closed container is recommended. To avoid deformation, especially on the thin sealing lip, during the storage, tension-free storing and free of mechanical stress are best for maintaining its physical characteristics. Rubber-made products should not be stored in contact with metal goods such as aluminum, iron, copper, etc. This is the same as the know-how to clean suction cups instructions above. Also, contact with materials containing plasticizers must be avoided.

Oxygen and ozone

Since ozone can particularly cause harm to some elastomeric seals, any equipment that can generate ozone (e.g. electric motors, mercury vapor lamps, high voltage electrical equipment, or others that silent electrical discharges or rise to electric sparks) should be removed from the storage rooms.

 

Via photochemical processes, combustion gases and organic vapor can also create ozone. Therefore, storage in well-sealed polyethylene bags is considered one of the best ways to keep the vacuum suction cups. 

 

By precisely knowing how to clean suction cups and proper storage, the shelf life of industrial vacuum suctions cups can be considerably prolonged. The safety of the vacuum system will also be retained and reinforced.


Based on professionalism, EUROTECH, an expert in vacuum technologies, provides the best solutions to businesses in various industries worldwide. Contact EUROTECH now to choose the most appropriate vacuum suction cups and know how to keep them last longer.