The demand for collaborative robots (cobots) is growing. Businesses use cobots to improve their operations. But choosing the right cobot and tools can be tricky. To help, we’ve created this article to give you the knowledge you need.
What are End of Arm Tools & Why Do They Matter?
The End of Arm Tool (EOAT) is vital for a cobot. It’s like the cobot’s hand and decides what tasks it can do. This article is a guide to common EOAT types and how they’re used, so you can make smart choices for your cobot’s performance.
Different cobot EOATs are made for specific tasks like packaging, tending machines, or manufacturing. Choosing the right one is crucial. This article helps you understand various EOAT types and their uses, so you can pick the best one for your cobot and get great results.
Types of End of Arm Tooling:
10 Different Types of Grippers:
Cobot grippers are add-ons for collaborative robots (cobots). They help cobots handle objects. Grippers allow cobots to pick up, hold, and let go of things. They’re useful in jobs like assembly, moving stuff, and packing.
Grippers come in many types and sizes. Some are simple and work with air, while others are more advanced. These advanced ones have many fingers and can sense things.
When companies pick grippers, they need to think about two main things: what the gripper is made of and what job it will do. There are different types of grippers to choose from.
1. Mechanical Grippers:
Mechanical grippers are a type of robot gripper. They work by using mechanical methods to grab and hold things. They have parts like actuators, linkages, and jaws to hold objects tightly. These parts can be powered by air, liquid, or electricity. People use mechanical grippers a lot in making things, moving stuff around, and other automated tasks.
One special thing about mechanical grippers is that their fingers, which are like their hands, can be changed easily. So, if they get damaged from being used a lot or used the wrong way, you can replace them. That’s why mechanical grippers are a good choice for heavy-duty jobs.
2. Vacuum Grippers:
Vacuum grippers are robot grippers. They work by using suction to grab and hold things with the help of a vacuum pump, chamber, and a flexible pad. Vacuum grippers are great for handling objects that are fragile or don’t have a regular shape. People use them a lot in making things, moving stuff around, and packing items.
3. Hydraulic Grippers:
Vacuum grippers are great for jobs that need lots of force, thanks to strong pumps that can make up to 2000 psi. But, they can get messy because of the oil in the pumps. Plus, they might need more repairs because they take a beating from all that force.
4. Electric Grippers:
New vacuum grippers run on electricity, which is simpler to work with than hydraulics. While they might not be as strong, the ease of using electricity is worth thinking about.
Vacuum grippers are also money-savers. They don’t rely on an external air supply, so you save on costs. Plus, they cut down on dust and noise and have fewer maintenance expenses.
5. Adhesive Grippers:
Adhesive grippers are lightweight and suitable for flexible items like fabrics. They’re cost-effective because they don’t require power.
However, there’s a downside. The adhesive might lose its stickiness over time, affecting reliability. Depending on usage, you may need to replace or re-coat the adhesive material frequently.
6. Magnetic Grippers:
Use magnetism to hold metal objects.
7. Frictional Grippers:
Hold objects using friction, often with a rough or serrated surface.
8. Serrated Grippers:
These are like friction grippers but have jagged jaws for a stronger hold.
9. Roll Grippers:
They use a spinning roller to grab things.
10. Compliant Grippers:
These have flexible arms that bend to hold objects in different shapes and sizes.
Cobot sensors are like the robot’s senses. They help with tasks like finding objects, knowing where they are, and feeling how hard they touch things. These sensors make sure the robot works safely around people.
Force sensors measure how strong something pushes or pulls. They are used in things like weighing scales and pressure sensors.
Collision sensors know when things bump into each other. They’re used in robots, machines, and safety systems to stop things from breaking. Examples are sensors that can see things nearby, use light to detect objects, or use sound to sense obstacles.
Tools and Tool Changers:
End-of-Arm Tools (EOAT) have different shapes and uses. Some common ones are deburring tools, paint guns, shears, welding torches, drills, arc welding torches, spot welding tools, and more.
Tool changers make it easy to switch these tools. A robot operator can change from one tool to another with just a few clicks. This saves time and makes the process easier.
6 Types of Applications:
1. Pick & Place:
End-of-Arm Tools (EOAT) allow cobots to pick up and put down various parts at the same time. For example, magnetic EOAT can pick up and put down objects made of steel and iron but won’t affect non-ferrous objects.
More and more companies are using welding tools for their spot-welding and arc welding tasks. It helps them make strong welds faster and keeps their workers safe. Cobots can do these jobs with little supervision, making the work quicker and safer.
3. Loading & Unloading Objects:
A company in Denmark that makes gears used a cobot and a collaborative gripper to move things in and out of its machines. They later switched to a double-grip gripper to make things even faster.
4. Material Removal:
One type of End-of-Arm-Tool (EOAT) is used to make holes and smooth materials. It’s often used in car factories.
5. Handling Delicate Objects:
Some EOATs use suction to pick up delicate items. You can adjust how strong they grip by changing the air pressure. They’re gentle and good for handling things like food.
A glass company in France used a cobot with a sensor and gripper to improve glass polishing. This change made work easier, increased production, and made employees happier because they didn’t have to do the same repetitive tasks.
To learn more about End of Arm Tooling.