Vacuum Technology: Gentle Handling for Sensitive Glass

Glass, already a universal material, is continually finding new applications. Nowhere is this more on display than at the glasstec 2016 trade fair in Düsseldorf (September 20 to 23, 2016). Vacuum specialist Schmalz will be presenting a selection of their solutions for gentle and reliable handling of sensitive materials at hall 11, booth H 39. Among their new products is the vacuum block VCBL-GL, which is used in the grinding of glass workpieces on Bando Kiko flat table machines.

Example of a vacuum block VCBL-GL with a customized suction plate for clamping glass workpieces.

Transporting, machining and storing glass requires care and a soft touch: Surfaces must remain free of scratches, and expensive breakage must be avoided. At the same time, processes need to run fast. Schmalz's portfolio covers all processes along the added-value chain for glass products. The company offers vacuum technology for many applications, from automated and manual handling to flexible clamping systems. Their products can be used for a wide range of materials, including coated materials with different thicknesses, as well as display and automotive glass.

In the area of vacuum clamping systems, Schmalz is introducing its new flat table suction cup VCBL-GL. These suction cups are particularly effective for edging window glass in the automotive industry. The suction cups operate with a two-circuit vacuum system and two hose connections: one for positioning the suction cup on the machine table and one for securing the workpiece on the vacuum block. The suction cups’ high shear force absorption provide optimal holding forces for machining both dry and moist glass. In their standard version, the suction cups use a replaceable sealing lip made from the material HT1 to handle the glass without leaving marks. For workpieces with special shapes, Schmalz offers a modular system of contoured suction cups in different sizes. The suction cup's base is produced in a standard design, while the suction plate can be customized according to the dimensions of the customer's workpiece. These contoured suction cups also leave no marks on the workpiece.

In the area of vacuum components, Schmalz is expanding its portfolio of suction cups to include the suction plate SGF HS, which has a greater stroke. The FM1 version with a flange module ensures a secure hold and allows for easy mounting on the machine table. In addition to the mark-free HT1 material, plates are also available in the elastomer EPDM. This material’s elasticity and special shape ensure that the workpiece remains secured even under high shear forces. When it comes to thin glass, you have to be especially careful. Schmalz has developed the thin glass gripper STGG for display glass with a thickness of 0.1 millimeters. This gripper is excellently suited for dynamic handling of sensitive workpieces in automated and partially automated processes, including the manufacture of TFT displays, smartphones and tablets. These sensitive surfaces can be immediately sent to the next processing station.

Because they are small, windows and glass sheets can be transported by hand. For heavier and larger glass, however, technical equipment is needed. Schmalz offers a range of lifting devices for manual glass handling. In Düsseldorf they will be exhibiting a VacuMaster Glass for easy, outdoor handling of windows and glass sheets, as well as a VacuMaster Window. Schmalz will also demonstrate how its tube lifter JumboErgo PSE, which includes a pneumatic swiveling unit, can be used to handle windshields quickly and reliably.

You can find more information about glasstec at

Schmalz at glasstec: hall 11, booth H 39


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