All Blick products come pre-dressed to a specified height. Any item ordered or repaired in the future will be dressed to the same height and continue to be interchangeable. TO MAINTAIN THIS INTERCHANGEABILITY, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO NEVER DRESS SUCTION CUPS TO BELOW THE SPECIFIED HEIGHT.
What is dressing, and why is it necessary??
All of the suction cups that are used on a machine must be very flat and the same size as one another. This allows even edgework and helps prevent slabs from breaking when vacuum is applied. Blick Industries achieves a flatness and height tolerance of within plus or minus 0.05 mm, or 0.002 inches (roughly the width of a human hair). This is accomplished by putting each suction cup through a dressing and measuring process. Once all of the components of the suction cup are assembled, the cup is placed in a machine, held in place by its own vacuum base, and a special tool trims, or dresses, the rubber pad to the specified height. This process guarantees a high level of flatness and height accuracy regardless of slight variations in the individual components of the cup.
How often do my suction cups need to be re-dressed??
Almost never. The top pad on our suction cups and supports is made of a very stable and hard rubber. Under normal use, they should retain their flatness and height accuracy. However, if a cup is damaged and either the top pad or any other component needs to be replaced, the cup needs to be redressed to assure interchangeability with other cups.
Can I dress my own suction cups??
You can dress your own suction cups, and we sell the tools for doing it. However, we strongly encourage you to think twice about dressing your own suction cups. First, it is difficult to do well. Accurately measuring and checking dressed cups is even more difficult, requiring special equipment. Second, your machine and its operator's time is probably better spent fabricating. A better option is to look into our repair service.
Why can't I just trim a little off of all of my cups to make sure they are the same height??
It is true that this method will provide a quick fix to any height issues, and it is often even recommended by some technicians, but we strongly discourage this because of the future problems it will cause. To alleviate the plentiful height problems we observed in the industry, we developed standard heights, and we developed methods to allow us to accurately maintain these standards. This allows our products, whether new or repaired, to be ready out of the box to be used in conjunction with items purchased at an earlier time. We do not feel that dressing suction cups is something that a fabrication shop should have to worry about. If you dress all of your cups to a lower height, then every time you receive new or repaired cups, you will have to go through the process of setting up the dressing tool and dressing the items. Without the proper measuring equipment it will be difficult to match the height of your existing cups accurately.