Filters and water separators protect against contamination and increase the service life of vacuum systems. Particularly sensitive components of a vacuum system, such as vacuum generators or valves, are susceptible to contamination and moisture. Filters are used to clean the air flow between suction cups or suction plates and vacuum generators from suspended particles and to remove sucked-in dirt. Water separators are particularly suitable for vacuum systems which are exposed to the weather and moisture is generated in the system by suction or condensation. The separated water provides effective protection against moisture for components susceptible to corrosion.