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Vacuum Terms and Definitions

Before diving into the world of vacuum chuck workholding there are some basic definitions that are helpful to know.

  • Air Consumption – The volume of compressed air required to power a venturi style vacuum generator.
  • Atmospheric Pressure – The atmosphere that surrounds the Earth can be considered a reservoir of low pressure air. Its weight exerts a pressure that varies with temperature, humidity and altitude.
  • Barometer – A device usually filled with mercury that measures atmospheric pressure.
  • Vacuum Flow – The volume of free air induced by a vacuum pump per unit of time, expressed as standard cubic feet per minute – SCFM or LPM (liters per minute).
  • Vacuum Level – The magnitude of the suction created by the vacuum pump.  The unit of measure is inches of Hg (“Hg).
  • Vacuum Force – Equal to the vacuum level multiplied by the surface area of the vacuum surface, i.e. vacuum cup, vacuum chuck surface.
  • Vacuum Fade – For each 1,000 of elevation, vacuum level decreases by 1″ of Hg.


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