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Piab 70th anniversary
– the art of evolving automation

We are usually no big fans of looking back. Tomorrow is much more exciting! But when we now turn 70 we feel like highlighting our past – and at the same time our future. Because it is in between the magic happens. The evolution of automation. Let's celebrate the art of evolving!

Evolving ourselves

The Piab journey started 70 years ago by developing progressive solutions for gripping, lifting and moving. More than 65 patents and countless innovations later it is clear that we always strive to improve for the better. This year is all about celebrating our quest of evolving automation – in a lot of different ways. Stay tuned!

It all started with an invention

Piab's founder Sven Tell and his fascination with the mathematical constant pi (≈3.14) led to the development of his unique drawing compass. It also prompted the company name – "Pi" and "AB," which is the Swedish word for Incorporated (Inc.). That was back in 1951 and Piab has been coming up with new inventions throughout the decades ever since.

The evolution of Piab

  • A pair of compasses by which circles of large and small diameters can be drawn by means of interchangeable bars, and which gave the company it's name-"PI" (ratio of diameter to circumference) and "AB" (incorporated)...PIAB.

  • The first vacuum product, "the Pneucette", is used as a tin solder suction device and for handling of small items.

  • The first multistage ejector: APV 1000. This patented vacuum ejector introduces a new movement which lay the foundations of the vacuum products range.

  • Piab Vacuum Pump L63 is introduced. This is the precursor of today's Classic pumps.

  • The Piab Vacuum Chip of small size and low weight for integration in machines.

  • Piab Suction Cups provide an easy, inexpensive and above all, reliable technique for moving different products and materials.

  • Piab Vacuum Conveyors, VC series. For vacuum conveying of powder and granules.

  • Piab DURAFLEX® suction cups made of revolutionary polyurethane material.

  • COAX®, the next dimension in vacuum technology, is easily integrated into the body of manufacturing machinery with multistage cartridges.

  • piINLINE® are small lightweight inline ejectors which use the patented COAX® technology inside. piINLINE® also has a pending patent since it is the only inline vacuum generators based on multistage ejector technology.

  • piCOMPACT® is an ejector family with integrated controls, so called compact or ”all-in-one” ejector unit. It is a stackable platform with the possibility to mount several units in the same manifold and have common pneumatic and electrical connections.

  • piFLOW®t – This is a vacuum conveyor when a premium technology is needed especially to handle tablets or fragile products in the food, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. It is designed with a Stainless Steel body (ASTM 316L) and meet the very high hygienic demands of FDA. Piab conveyors are ATEX Dust compliant.

  • Piab has acquired Italian-based Kenos, a leading company in the market of large area vacuum grippers. Kenos designs and manufactures gripping systems used in various applications e.g. packaging, wood, food, etc.

  • Piab has acquired Sweden based Vaculex, a leading manufacturer of lifting equipment based on vacuum technology. With 30 years of experience Vaculex designs, manufactures and sells ergonomic lifting systems for various applications, e.g. baggage handling, packaging, distribution and logistics.

  • Piab has acquired US-based SAS Automation, a leading developer and manufacturer of mechanical grippers and robotic end-of-arm tooling systems. By complementing Piab's existing product offering, the addition of SAS Automation takes Piab a step closer to becoming a leading one-stop gripper shop.

  • Piab has acquired FEBA Automation, headquartered in Germany, a developer and producer of robotic gripping solutions for customers in the manufacturing industry.

  • Piab is proud to introduce piCOBOT®, a cleverly equipped end-of-arm (EOAT) vacuum tool designed specifically for the cobot market. Featuring the company's signature vacuum technology, enabling improved efficiency, productivity and working environments, piCOBOT® offers industry certified plug-and-play extensions to the latest collaborative robots, so called cobots.

  • Piab introduces the next generation piCOMPACT®23 with new SMART features included. piCOMPACT®23 SMART is an IO-Link-ready vacuum generator platform available from Piab. Offering operation with either standard 24V IO or IO-Link, the new SMART compact all-in-one ejector is ready to meet the future.

  • piSOFTGRIP® is developed especially with food industry automation in mind. The vacuum-based soft gripper will grip sensitive and lightweight objects of odd geometries and/or an unusual surface. Bin-picking of small irregularly shaped objects, such as toys, is another potential application.

  • A world first, piFLOW®p SMART is a self-optimizing vacuum conveyor targeted primarily at industries handling many different materials and/or those in which frequent changes need to be made. This makes the conveyor ideally suited for producers within the food and pharma sectors, where its full changeover potential will have great impact, saving time and money.

  • Piab has acquired TAWI Group, a leading manufacturer of smart lifting solutions with global reach.

  • The TAWI Mobile Order Picker is a unique solution for mobile material handling and order-picking from pallet racks. Simply pick up the mobile unit with any kind of forklift or truck and drive wherever you need to go.

  • Kenos® KVG60 gripper system is available to configure with COAX® vacuum generators, Piab suction cups and flow-control valves.

  • The MX suction cup family is exceptional for picking various objects of different materials. Designed primarily for the logistics, warehousing, e-commerce, and re-cycling industries.

Game changing stories

Our purpose is evolving automation. It's why we exist. At Piab we strive to advance everything. Each other. Our customers. And, in the end, the automated world around us. Throughout the year we will share our most iconic automation stories that has changed us – and truly put a mark on the world.

Automation stories
woman jogging
A 40-year-old invention still saves lives today

Piab’s engineering team invented the lightweight Chip pump in 1981 recognizing the need...

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Piab vacuum conveyor for additive manufacturing
Piab’s vacuum conveyors evolve automation of Additive Manufacturing

Laying the base for safe and efficient powder handling in 1972, Piab today supports the additive manufacturing industry with...

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TAWI Mobile Order Picker
Speeding up logistic processes by combining the best of two worlds – TAWI’s MOP

TAWI's evolved to offer devices and solutions supporting logistics, warehouse and e-commerce lifting tasks, such as...

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Electrical vehicle batteries
Getting a grip on battery cell handling with Piab’s vacuum technology

From electrode stacking between Z-fold separators, pouch cell and gap filter to heatshield handling in...

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