Pneumatics & Hydraulics

SMC’s energy efficient vacuum solutions

October 2020 Pneumatics & Hydraulics

SMC’S comprehensive range of vacuum components is focussed on compressed air efficiency. The company can optimise any current system by replacing the existing vacuum components with efficient, state of the art vacuum solutions. SMC has placed great emphasis on the design of its vacuum range and helps its customers select the best vacuum system for their application. Optimisation is achieved through analysis of the current vacuum system and then applying an integrated approach to energy efficiency. Customers are supported through identifying weak points in existing systems, assessing possible areas for energy savings, understanding the flow and pressure requirements, and finally, optimising the selection of vacuum components.

Multi-stage ejection range

SMC has renewed its multistage ejector range with the, ZL1/ZL3/ZL6 series, in response to weight reduction demand that comes from the growing use of robotics. This addition meets the suction flow requirements for workpieces with high levels of leakage, while also delivering energy efficiency. The series offers a high efficiency multistage ejector series that is compact and lightweight in design, but big in terms of suction power.

The three-stage diffuser construction design of the ZL1/ZL3/ZL6 delivers an increased suction flow rate of 250% when compared to a one stage model. Furthermore, the release of the ZL3 and ZL6 comes along with an increase in maximum suction flow rate of up to 600 l/min.


SMC has identified a few important checkpoints to help customers get the most from their vacuum application. These include:

• A leakage test needs to be performed to ascertain the most suitable vacuum cup for the material style or shape of product.

• The optimum suction flow and vacuum levels need to be known.

• The vacuum system needs to be sized for the worst case scenario.

• Tubing lengths between the vacuum ejector and point of source need to be as short as possible.

• The tubing diameter on the vacuum port must be equal to, or larger than, the tubing diameter on the supply side.

• Filtration needs to be installed to protect downstream vacuum ejectors.

• A vacuum switch needs to be installed in the vacuum line to monitor and detect leaks.

A recent success story

SMC has worked with a multitude of companies on vacuum solutions. More recently, it worked with a leading manufacturing facility in KZN, where it provided an optimal solution using SMC vacuum technology to lift components efficiently. Using the new ZL range, air consumption was drastically reduced, using the energy saving function, and suction flow rate was increased by the efficiency and flexibility in the range. Sales engineer Yattish Jugaroop says this has increased the customer’s production levels through downtime in the tool changing and transferring process, and a decrease in electricity usage. In addition, it has improved safety around product handling and reduced the risk of injury.


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