Unleashing the Power of Cobots with End of Arm Tooling: A Guide to the Most Popular Types and Their Real-World Applications


As the demand for collaborative robots, or cobots, continues to rise, more and more businesses are turning to this technology as a way to enhance their operations and improve productivity. However, choosing the right cobot and making the most of its capabilities can be a complex process. That's why having a solid understanding of cobots, including their end of arm tooling (EOAT), is essential for making informed decisions and unlocking the full potential of these robots.

To help business owners navigate this complex landscape, we have created this comprehensive article to provide you with the knowledge you need to choose the right cobot and EOAT for your specific needs.

Unlocking the Mystery of End of Arm Tools: What are they and Why do they Matter?

The End of Arm Tool (EOAT) is a crucial component of any collaborative robot (cobot) system. Attached to the cobot's wrist, it enables the cobot to perform its designated tasks and determines the range of tasks the cobot can accomplish. This article is your comprehensive guide to the most common types of EOATs and their practical applications, providing you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions and optimize your cobot's performance.

When it comes to cobots, the End of Arm Tool (EOAT) is a crucial component that determines what tasks the cobot can perform. From packaging and palletizing operations to machine tending and manufacturing processes, each EOAT is designed for a specific purpose. As a result, it's important to choose the right EOAT to meet the specific needs of your tasks.

This is why we have created this article. We provide a comprehensive overview of the various types of cobot EOATs available on the market, exploring their specific applications and functions. Our goal is to help you make informed decisions and select the right EOAT for your needs, so you can optimize your cobot's performance and achieve your goals.

Types of End of Arm Tooling:


Cobot grippers are collaborative robot (cobot) accessories designed to manipulate objects and materials. They allow cobots to pick up, hold, and release items, making them useful in various applications such as assembly, material handling, and packaging. Cobot grippers come in different types and sizes, ranging from simple pneumatic grippers to more advanced electric grippers with multiple fingers and advanced sensing capabilities.

When selecting grippers, manufacturers must consider two crucial elements: the material the gripper is constructed from and the handling task at hand. The following are the prevalent types of grippers available in the market.

Mechanical grippers:

Mechanical grippers are a type of robot gripper that use mechanical means to grasp and hold objects. They use a combination of actuators, linkages, and gripping jaws to securely hold an object, and can be actuated through mechanical means such as pneumatic, hydraulic, or electric actuators. They are widely used in manufacturing, material handling, and other automation applications.

One important characteristic of mechanical grippers is that their fingers are designed to be interchangeable. This means that they can be easily replaced if they become worn out from prolonged use or misuse. This makes mechanical grippers a reliable choice for handling heavy-duty tasks.

Vacuum grippers:

Vacuum grippers are robot grippers that use suction to hold objects through a vacuum pump, chamber, and flexible pad. They are effective for handling delicate or irregular objects and widely used in manufacturing, material handling, and packaging.

Hydraulic grippers:

Vacuum grippers are ideal for tasks requiring high levels of force, thanks to pumps capable of producing up to 2000 psi. However, their use can be messy due to the oil in the pumps, and maintenance costs may be higher as they tend to sustain more damage from the force they exert.

Electric grippers:

The latest generation of vacuum grippers operates on electricity, making them easier to use compared to hydraulic models. Although this may result in slightly reduced strength, the convenience of electric power provides a trade-off worth considering.

Vacuum grippers are cost-effective due to their independence from an external air source. They also offer advantages in terms of reducing dust and noise, as well as lower maintenance expenses.

Adhesive grippers:

Adhesive grippers offer a combination of benefits. Their lightweight design allows for easy handling of flexible objects like fabrics. Additionally, their lack of reliance on a power source results in lower operating costs.

However, the adhesive material used in these grippers may lose its stickiness with frequent use, affecting their reliability. To maintain their effectiveness, the adhesive substance may need to be replaced or re-coated regularly, depending on usage frequency.

Other types of grippers:

Magnetic grippers:
Sse magnetism to grip metal objects.

Frictional grippers:

Grip objects using friction, typically using a rough surface or serrated jaw.

Serrated grippers:

Similar to friction grippers but with serrated jaws for increased grip.
Roll grippers:
Use a rotating roller to grip objects.

Compliant grippers:

Flexible arms that deform to grip objects of various shapes and sizes.


Cobot sensors are sensors integrated into cobots to aid in tasks such as object detection, position tracking, and force sensing, providing the robot with feedback to operate safely and effectively in shared workspaces with humans.

Force sensors measure the physical force applied to an object. They are used in applications such as load cells, pressure sensors, and force-sensing resistors.

Collision sensors detect when two objects collide or make contact with each other. They are commonly used in robotics, automation, and safety systems to detect and prevent physical damage. Examples of collision sensors include proximity sensors, optical sensors, and ultrasound sensors.

Tools and Tool Changers:

End-of-Arm-Tools (EOAT) come in a variety of forms, with some being more widely used than others. Common EOAT include deburring tools, paint guns, shears, welding torches, drills, arc welding torches, spot welding tools, and more.

Tool changers streamline the automation process by facilitating quick and effortless tool changes. With just a few clicks, a robot operator can switch from a welding torch to a paint gun, saving time and reducing the manual effort involved.

Applications of Cobot End of Arm Tooling:

Pick and place operations:

EOAT enable cobots to simultaneously pick up and place different types of parts. For instance, magnetic EOAT can pick up and place ferromagnetic objects like steel and iron, while leaving non-ferrous objects in place.

Welding operations:

An increasing number of companies are utilizing welding EOAT for their spot-welding and arc welding processes. This has enabled them to produce high-quality welds in significantly less time, while also reducing the risk to their workforce. Cobots are capable of performing these tasks with minimal supervision, making the process more efficient and safe.

Loading and unloading objects:

A gear manufacturing company based in Denmark implemented a cobot and an RG2 collaborative gripper to load and unload CNC machines at its warehouse. The company then made an improvement by replacing the single-grip gripper with a dual-grip one, further reducing its cycle time.

Material removal:

The category of End-of-Arm-Tools (EOAT) concerned with tapping and drilling threads and holes into materials to achieve the desired shape, size, and smoothness through trimming, grinding, deburring, and cutting, is commonly used in automotive assembly lines.

Handling delicate objects:

Vacuum End-of-Arm-Tools (EOAT) allow for fine-tuning of the gripping force by adjusting air pressure, which creates vacuum grips. This enables a gentle touch for delicate products. Additionally, EOAT with soft grips are ideal for handling food items without causing damage.

Polishing process:

A glass manufacturer in France optimized their glass polishing process through automation, combining a cobot with a sensor and gripper. This decision not only relieved worker strain but also boosted production capacity. The workforce is now pleased, as they are relieved from performing tedious and repetitive tasks.

To learn more about end of arm tooling.

Updated 03.02.23