Grippers are like robot hands, and they connect to the robot’s wrist. They help the robot do tasks like picking up and holding things. The gripper is at the end of the robot’s arm, and it works like a human hand, making the robot good at many different jobs. It can handle delicate things or heavy stuff, which makes the robot work better.
Types of Grippers:
1. Hydraulic Grippers: Strong, But Watch for Oil Spills
Hydraulic grippers are powerful tools for heavy tasks due to their high-pressure pumps. They can lift items weighing 50 kilograms or more. However, there are important considerations:
Firstly, hydraulic grippers can be messy as they use oil in the pumps, which might spill. Additionally, because they exert a lot of force, they are more prone to damage. Therefore, regular maintenance is essential to keep them in good shape.
2. Electric Grippers: Precise & Easy to Use
Electric grippers, also called servo-electric grippers, use an electric motor for their fingers. They work with electricity, which makes them easy to use. While they may not be as strong as hydraulic grippers, they have their advantages, especially in tasks like machine tending and pick & place.
Electric grippers are recognized for their precision and ease of use, making them a preferred choice in many cobot setups.
3. Pneumatic Grippers: Efficient Pick-and-Place
Pneumatic grippers use compressed air to control their fingers. These fingers work like human fingers, securely holding and releasing items. They are excellent for precise and reliable tasks, like pick-and-place jobs in manufacturing and automation.
4. Adhesive Grippers: Flexible & Cost-Effective
Adhesive grippers are flexible and cost-effective. They grip things well without needing power. They’re lightweight and can handle many objects. This makes them good for different uses. Adhesive grippers are practical when power is limited. They are versatile, convenient, and cost-effective for robot gripping.
Other gripper types include magnetized grippers, dual grippers, and sensory feedback grippers.
To pick the right gripper, think about these things:
Check if the gripper can reach and handle parts properly. Don’t use too long fingers to avoid straining the gripper and robot.
The gripper should handle the part’s weight, including any sudden movements. Don’t use maximum force to avoid breaking things.
Understand what the gripper will touch. Different surfaces might need more or less force or specific gripper materials for a good grip.
By looking at these factors, you can choose a gripper that matches your application’s size, weight, and surface needs. This way, you’ll have a strong and reliable grip without damaging the gripper or the things it holds.
Choosing the Right Gripper:
When picking a gripper, focus on your job. Here are important things to think about:
1. What You Handle:
Decide if it’s one kind of thing or many. This affects how well it can adapt.
2. Specific Job:
Think about what you’ll touch. Food, electronics, or dangerous stuff? Grippers are made for different needs.
3. How Much It Holds:
Figure out how heavy the gripper needs to lift. Make sure it can pick stuff up right.
Check if it fits in small places. Some are for tight spots.
Decide if you need info from the gripper. Some grippers have sensors for grip strength, position, or finding objects. This is important for quality control.
Cycle Time: How Fast It Grabs and Lets Go
Think about how fast the gripper grabs and releases things. This is called the cycle time. The speed of these actions affects how quickly tasks get done. Depending on your job, you might need a faster cycle time for better productivity.
Different grippers come with different speeds for clamping and opening/closing. Look at the gripper’s details to make sure it matches the time you need for your job. Choosing a gripper that works at the right speed can make work smoother and faster.
Here’s what you should think about:
1. Gripper Weight and Robot Specs: If the gripper is heavy, it can slow down the robot. So, pick a lightweight gripper for better performance.
2. Precision and Adaptability: If you need high precision, use a mechanical gripper with servo-electric motors. It’s great for assembling things accurately.
On the other hand, if you’re sorting stuff or need to handle things of different sizes, get a gripper that can adapt and move things around as needed. It helps you sort and organize items the way you want.
So, choose a gripper that matches your task. It’ll make your robot work better and get the job done the way you want it to.
When choosing cobot grippers, think about where you’ll use them:
1. Food & Pharmaceutical Industries:
Avoid hydraulic grippers because they can cause oil spills and contamination. Instead, follow industry rules by using electric or pneumatic grippers.
2. Clean Room Industries:
Avoid vacuum and pneumatic grippers as they can stir up air particles. Choose grippers that emit low air or particles to keep things clean.
3. Dirty Environments:
If your gripper will be exposed to dirt and particles, make sure it’s protected. This will keep it working well and prevent damage or clogs from outside debris.
4. Corrosive or Toxic Environments:
In places with corrosive or toxic substances, like nuclear or chemical industries, you need special grippers with the right coatings or materials. This ensures stability and safety.
Matching your gripper to your work environment ensures it works well, lasts, and stays safe in your cobot tasks.
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