There’s a lot of vacuum going on in the woodworking industry. From treatment to routing to handling, vacuum systems help meet the demands for higher speed performance, greater precision, faster production and better quality. Vacuum technology enhances the skills and talents of operators. With a variety of well-established system designs to choose from, each offering various combinations of advantages, woodworking facilities of all sizes and production capabilities can precisely target their vacuum requirements to deliver maximum output. Here’s an overview of the most significant woodworking vacuum applications.
Versatile Vacuum Technology is a Force Behind Industrial Woodworking
Pod System CNC Routers
“Small but powerful” is the operative phrase for pod-system vacuum. The individual pods on the grid are small and don’t cover a lot of area. One system may have as few as four pods to as many as 24 pods, and they are adjustable. This gives the system flexibility in several ways, such as being able to machine on the sides and bottom of a piece. Since there is very little air that needs to be removed, a deeper vacuum is required for the additional holding force.
A small lubricated rotary vane vacuum pump is the most common type used for a pod system. It has sufficient flow and a consistent, deep vacuum for maximum holding power. They are usually air-cooled. The lubricated rotary vane has a simple mechanical design and is simple to install and has the additional benefits of being low-noise, low-maintenance pumps.
A lubricated rotary vane pump is a common solution for pod-system vacuum since it provides sufficient flow and a consistent, deep vacuum to provide maximum holding power.
Nesting CNC Routers
When you associate vacuum with woodworking, the ubiquitous nesting CNC routers are usually first to come to mind. As opposed to pod systems, nested systems have a larger area to cover, so a much larger capacity vacuum system is needed.
Hold-down force depends on the type of router tools, force generated by the depth of cut, feeding speed and other variables. Generally, the average hold-down force on a single piece should be around 2,000 pounds. Because there is a continual leak of air through the fiber board, a table with a fiber board of four by eight feet usually uses a vacuum system that can deliver a minimum of 300 ACFM with as much depth of vacuum as possible. Generally, a vacuum level between 18 to 24 inches mercury (Hg) is considered “the sweet spot.”
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