How Does Temperature Affect Your Vacuum Cups

by Jessica Smith

Temperature Many owners and operators of Wood's Powr-Grip hand-held vacuum cups and below-the-hook vacuum lifters have expressed curiosity about the range of temperatures in which our products work. Although the answer contains several layers, do not fret, for Wood's Powr-Grip is on the case, and this explanation will take you through what you need to know about temperature and your Powr-Grip product. HAND-HELD VACUUM CUPS Most Powr-Grip hand-held vacuum cups have a temperature rating of 10° F to 120° F (-12° C to 49° C). If the temperature goes below 10° F, the pump's U-cup is more likely to leak, making it difficult to maintain adequate vacuum under the pad. Also, the pad itself becomes very stiff in extremely cold weather, decreasing its ability to conform to load surfaces. Temperatures above 120° F pose a few problems for vacuum cups as well. The grease that lubricates and seals the plunger can start to liquefy and leak, while the U-cup and pad become soft and lack the rigidity they need for proper function. Also, the rubber in the pad will begin to "cook" and age much quicker at temperatures over 120° F. BELOW-THE-HOOK VACUUM LIFTERS Powr-Grip vacuum lifters have different temperature ratings, depending on the power system they use: Most lifters that are powered by a DC pump have a temperature rating of 32° F to 104° F (0° C to 40° C), and most of those powered by an AC pump have temperature rating of either 32° F to 100° F (0° C to 38° C) or 32° F to 104° F (0° C to 40° C). Lifters powered by compressed air (venturi pumps) usually are rated at 0° F to 120° F (-18° F to 49° C). When a DC-powered pump is operated in temperatures lower than the rated minimum, the diaphragm in the pump (which is made of rubber) becomes stiff and no longer works properly. Also, the DC battery will actually lose capacity as the temperature drops, just like the battery in your car. (See Service Bulletin for additional information) Some AC-powered lifters also have a diaphragm in them, so cold temperatures will affect them negatively, as well. Cold is a factor with air-powered units, as well, due to condensation and potential freezing in air lines, which results in diminished pump efficiency. When temperatures rise above 105° F, the pumps and other components on all electrically powered lifters can over heat and stop working all together. IN GENERAL Another thing to keep in mind for both vacuum cups and vacuum lifters is that leaving them attached to loads for extended periods of time can result in leaching or marking of load surfaces. The presence of heat and direct sunlight increases the chances of this happening. For this reason, remove vacuum cups from load surfaces whenever they are not in use. In addition, all vacuum pads (whether on vacuum cups or vacuum lifters) that are used outdoors need to be replaced periodically, due to inevitable aging caused partly by UV exposure. To make your vacuum pads last to their full potential, do not store vacuum lifters outside and avoid leaving vacuum products outside longer than necessary. These are some general guidelines to follow when it comes to using your vacuum pad or vacuum lifter in extreme temperatures, and the reasons behind them. However, individual products can be rated differently from the information given above, so check your instructions to be certain of your vacuum cup or lifter's temperature rating. If you have additional questions regarding the use of your Powr-Grip products in certain temperatures, feel free to contact one of our Technical Sales Representatives.
Jessica Smith was a Staff Writer on the Wood's Powr-Grip Marketing team. She was responsible for editing, researching and writing articles for Wood's Powr-Grip's many instructions, publications and newsletters.