Grippers: An In-Depth Introduction

Collaborative robots, often called cobots, have changed manufacturing. They are easy to use, need less programming, and are very flexible. Grippers are important tools for these robots because they help them hold things and do important jobs in manufacturing.

To make your robot work best, it’s important to pick the right gripper that fits your production needs. This choice helps you get the most work done efficiently and productively.

What is a Gripper?

A gripper is a tool on a cobot’s wrist. It helps the cobot grab and control things safely. Grippers are like the cobot’s hands, allowing it to work with objects in tasks such as picking up items and putting things together. This tool lets cobots do manufacturing jobs carefully and efficiently by interacting with objects in a precise way.

10 Different Types of Grippers:

There are various grippers for different tasks:

1. Hydraulic Grippers:

They use hydraulic pressure and offer strong gripping force for demanding jobs.

2. Vacuum Grippers:

These use suction to hold objects, perfect for flat or porous items, especially light ones.

3. Pneumatic Grippers:

These rely on compressed air and are known for their speed, affordability, and versatility in manufacturing.

4. Electric Grippers:

Electric grippers use motors for precise and controlled gripping. They’re programmable, adjustable, and provide feedback.

Additional gripper types:

5. Angular Grippers:

These grip things at specific angles, giving precise control.

6. Parallel Grippers:

Jaws move side by side, gripping objects of different sizes and shapes.

7. Soft Grippers:

Made of flexible materials for delicate or irregular objects.

8. Magnetic Grippers:

Use magnets to hold ferromagnetic objects without touching them.

9. Palletiser Grippers:

Specialized for stacking objects on pallets efficiently.

10. Adaptive Grippers:

Versatile and can change shape to grip various object shapes.

Each gripper has its unique abilities, helping manufacturers choose what suits their needs best.


Pick grippers with smooth edges, not sharp ones, to make work safer. Consider this during risk assessments for collaborative robots to ensure safety.

Choosing a Gripper: 

When picking a gripper for your collaborative robot, there are a few important things to consider:

1. Cost:

Think about how much you’ll spend not only on the gripper but also on robot maintenance and setup. Remember that the gripper adds to the total cost.

Tip: Don’t forget to include the energy costs for running the gripper.

2. Application:

Ask yourself:

  • What tasks will the robot do?
  • What kind of stuff will it handle? Is it fragile or dangerous?

This helps you figure out what kind of gripper you need for the job.

3. Payload/Speed:

Know how much weight your robot can handle. If it’s carrying the maximum load with a gripper, it might slow down and affect efficiency.

When talking to a gripper maker, make sure to:

  • Ask what the gripper can do.
  • Learn about different gripper types and which one suits your job.
  • Check the power needs.
  • Find out how long it takes to get the gripper working in your system.
  • See how the gripper talks to your robot, like through wires or signals.
  • Check out the gripper’s fingers to make sure they fit your needs.
  • See if the gripper can be customized for your special needs.

Also, some robots can use different grippers. Ask the maker if your robot can do this, but remember it adds complexity.


Collaborative robots and their grippers make manufacturing flexible and efficient. By thinking about the things we talked about in this guide, you can choose the best gripper. This helps your automation work better, faster, and safer. So, use grippers to make your robot do amazing things in manufacturing.

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