How to clean suction cups properly, according to technical guidelines
Vacuum cups are an essential component of various industrial applications, including material handling, packaging, and transportation. These suction cups are designed to hold objects securely, which makes them crucial for safe and efficient operations.
To ensure that vacuum suction cups remain durable and safe, it is important to know how to clean and store them properly. Adhering to international standards DIN 7716, the guidelines for suction cup cleaning and maintenance are fundamental for all users in the industry. Cleaning vacuum suction cups involves removing any dirt or debris that may have accumulated on the surface. A mild detergent or glass cleaner mixed with warm water should be used to create a cleaning solution. It is important to avoid using harsh or abrasive cleaners that can damage the suction cups.
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 cups include: DIN 7716, DIN 9088, and ISO 2230. The precautions and recommendations to maintain the elastomer elements depend on material classes.
Following the guidelines, proper cleaning of vacuum suction cups is essential to maintain their performance and longevity. Here are some general guidelines for cleaning vacuum suction cups:
- Remove any debris: Before cleaning, remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated on the suction cup surface using a soft brush or a lint-free cloth.
- Prepare a cleaning solution: Mix a mild detergent or glass cleaner with warm water to create a cleaning solution. Avoid using harsh or abrasive cleaners that can damage the suction cups.
- Clean the suction cups: Dip a lint-free cloth or sponge into the cleaning solution and gently wipe the suction cup surface, ensuring that all areas are cleaned. Rinse the suction cups with clean water and dry them thoroughly with a lint-free cloth.
- Check for damage: Inspect the suction cups for any cracks or signs of wear and tear. Replace any damaged suction cups to prevent them from failing during use.
- Store the suction cups properly: Store the suction cups in a clean, dry place, and avoid exposing them to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.
Advanced Chemical Assistance for Cleaning
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:
- Vinegar-based cleaning products
- Pure solvents, pure glycerine, or pure ethanol
- Carbon tetrachloride
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 is influenced by various factors, including the material composition of the suction cups, storage conditions, and frequency of usage. Manufacturers typically provide guidelines for the recommended shelf life of suction cups, which should be examined to ensure that the suction cups remain effective and safe for use.
It is important to note that the shelf life of vacuum suction cups can vary depending on the material used to manufacture them. For instance, suction cups made of silicone or rubber typically have a longer shelf life than those made of other materials. Additionally, the recommended shelf life of suction cups can vary depending on the intended use and the level of wear and tear sustained during previous use.
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.
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.
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.