Clippard Instrument Laboratory's new modular vacuum generator combines a Venturi vacuum generator and three-way valve. "Usually an end-user would have to buy a separate two- or three-way valve," explains Rich Boutell, engineering manager at Clippard. "Our product comes with both valve and generator." The combination allows controlling pressure to the vacuum generator, vacuum from the generator, and other circuit functions as required. With a pressurized air supply to the generator, the modular product generates a vacuum of 25 inches Hg and 0.6 scfm from the outlet. Applications include pick, place, and hold applications and liquid drawback circuits. The generator is an alternative to both electric and multi-stage air-powered pumps. The Clippard modular vacuum generator uses a Delrin body with a central valve cavity surrounded by eight independent air passages that terminate at the base of the body in a circular "octoport" pattern. The body mates with a manifold subplate that mounts the complete module and provides tapped holes for standard hose fittings. A single octoport gasket included with the module and held in place by two mounting screws ensures a positive seal.
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Air coupler eliminates pop-offs
The SAFE AIR coupler from New Age Industries has a two-stage disconnect. "It is the first coupler to meet ISO standard 4414," says Donald Warner, the company's director of product development. "The 4414 standard requires the release of pressure before disconnection," he explains. Stage one vents the air pressure. Stage two disconnects the coupler. "One of the reasons we believe ours is better is because the users operate it with only one hand," says Warner. "There are two other designs we know of that both require two hands for operation. One uses a twisting, side-to-side motion. The other uses a ratcheting motion," he says. The new coupler does not disconnect without the manual vent release step. It has a smooth nylon body that resists scratches and weighs less than metal couplers. The body forms a shell that surrounds the internal components. The new 5/16-inch SAFE AIR couplers are available with hose barbs or male and female threads.
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Cylinder clamp twists
The Twist Clamp from Bimba incorporates an internal mechanism that produces rotary piston motion throughout its stroke. "It's a cam and bushing design," says Bimba engineer and Product Manager Tom Kane. "The internal bushing has a key and the piston rod has a dowel pin, so it becomes a cam and a follower." The dowel pin and piston rod follow a machined path in the bushing. Rotation via the cam/bushing concept has tested to over two million cycles. "Other models machine a path into the piston, so the guide pin is stationary," explains Kane. "On Bimba's, the guide pin is not stationary." By attaching a clamp arm, the actuator becomes a clamping mechanism for light-duty holding applications. The rotary motion rotates the clamp arm out of the work area for easy loading and unloading of parts. The Twist Clamp uses a 40mm bore cylinder and produces up to 224 lbs of clamping force at maximum pressure of 140 psi. The base cylinder is hard-coated, anodized, and has a PTFE-impregnated cylinder body. According to Bimba, competitive models using an external pin/machined rod groove approach have failed tests under similar conditions at fewer than 500,000 cycles.
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