Understand ISO 8573-1 Air Rating for Reliable Manufacturing of Robotic Palletizing
ISO 8573-1 is an international standard for measuring compressed air quality. Important for robotic palletizing because the vacuum suction often used in these systems is pneumatic.
When you use vacuum grippers for palletizing, air quality can mean the difference between successfully picking up a box and dropping it.
But what impact will the air quality in your work environment have on robots?
How can you compare vacuum cleaner models and their air quality ratings?
And how do you know which vacuum gripper is best for your particular palletizing task?
Let’s take a look at the ISO 8563-1 standard to understand how you can use it to make better decisions about your palletizing robot.
What is ISO 8573-1?
ISO8573-1 is an international standard for compressed air purity class developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It defines a set of criteria for assessing and classifying compressed air purity and is essential for tasks where clean air is required.
This standard consists of 8 sections providing test classes and procedures. It classifies air quality based on the type and size of contaminants or particles in the compressed air.
Part of the standard is:
Purity class for particulate matter, water and oil.
Test methods for oil, moisture, solid particulate and oil/solvent aerosols.
Test methods for solid particle content and microbiological contaminants.
Solid particle test method.
Liquid water testing procedure.
From these tests and procedures, the air supply is given a rating indicating the purity of the air.
For robotic vacuum cleaners, the type of contaminants may vary depending on the specific environment in which you use the robot. However, the most common type is particulate, such as ambient dust in a warehouse environment.
Why air quality matters for reliable robot palletizing
Air quality is a property that people often forget when purchasing a palletizing robot. However, air quality assessment of the robotic vacuum gripper can significantly affect the robot’s performance in palletizing tasks.
Contaminants affect the suction power of the vacuum gripper. As a result, air quality affects the weight of items that can be lifted by the gripper.
Most vacuum grippers have some sort of air filtration system. However, it has a different rating according to ISO 8573-1. If your gripper’s filtration system is unable to filter out the types of airborne contaminants, it may fail to reliably pick up the box.
If your robot works in a clean room, you probably don’t have to worry about air quality. For all other environments, you must consider air quality.
How the vacuum cleaner uses air when making pallets
The vacuum grippers often used in palletizing robots work by creating a vacuum force, usually with a vacuum pump connected to the gripper.
Vacuum grippers work using the venturi effect, a principle that relies on the suction created when liquid is forced through a narrow passage. When compressed air is pushed through the venturi tube, it creates a vacuum with a lower pressure than the atmosphere.
Vacuum grippers usually have two main operational parts: the suction cup and the air supply (which includes a pressure regulator with an air filtration system).
During operation, the suction cup starts to fill with air. This air is then quickly sucked out, creating negative air pressure inside the cup which presses the cup against the surface of the box.
If there are any contaminants in the air supply, it creates a weaker lift by reducing the quality of the vacuum.
Comparing air ratings of 2 reliable vacuum grippers
You can see the effect of the air rating on the performance of the vacuum grippers by looking at the different models.
At Robotiq, we have three ranges of vacuum grippers: EPick, AirPick and PowerPick. The ePick includes its own mini vacuum pump inside the gripper itself – instead of using an external air supply – so it’s a bit different than the other two.
Let’s compare AirPick and PowerPick to see the impact of air quality ratings:
Example 1: AirPick
Select Air is the perfect choice for a large number of palletizing tasks. It is able to properly lift boxes and goods for many pick and place tasks. It has a compact design for cobots and, in the right environment, offers a powerful vacuum flow.
The AirPick filtration system is rated ISO 8573-1 Class 2-4-2. This means it provides a particle size separation of <0.1μm — which is equivalent to the grain size of corn starch.
5 micron air filter, 0.3 micron mist separator and 0.01 micron micro separator.
Example 2: PowerPick
The PowerPick is a stronger vacuum gripper designed for increased reliability and strength for lifting heavier items. It also offers more configuration options to suit more palletizing tasks.
PowerPick filtration systems are rated ISO 8573-1 Class 7-4-4. This means it provides <40μm particle size separation — which is equivalent to a plant pollen grain. The air filter is also 5 microns in size.
This rating means the PowerPick can handle air with a particle size 400 times larger than the AirPick.
The upgraded vacuum system has a maximum payload capacity of 11.5 kg (25 lbs) and provides strong suction to ensure the box is held firmly even in dustier environments.
What air quality does your palletizing job require?
How can you use this information to decide which palletizing system is right for you?
When you view your vacuum system, identify whether the vacuum cleaner’s air quality rating matches the environment in which the system will operate.
You can analyze the air quality of your environment using measurement equipment. Or you can run a test application with the vacuum cleaner and identify that its performance meets your needs.
By understanding what air purity class is required for your particular application, you can ensure that your palletizing tasks are running at peak performance.
What questions do you have about air quality ratings? Let us know in the comments below or join the discussion at LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebookor the DoF professional robotics community.