Applications Of Robotic Grippers In The Manufacturing Industry


Increased production and reduced costs to maximise profitability are at the top of many production company lists. A simple and effective way to achieve this is through automation. Achieving this has been made possible through many technological advancements. One such invention is the robot. Artificial intelligence (AI) and gripping technologies have essentially changed the production industry.

What Are Grippers

These are devices that are attached to the ends of robotic arms. They are a type of end effector or end of arm tooling (EOAT). Grippers can hold, manipulate and move objects.

Cobots are collaborative robot arms that have a gripper attached.  They are useful tools in the manufacturing industry. The uses and applications of grippers vary. The major factors that bring about their differences are their various types and sizes.

Their operations are automated and this reduces the need for human interaction in companies.  They can be controlled remotely or through a program.

Choosing The Right Gripper

So many robot grippers are available in the market. Trying to pick one out maybe a rather daunting task. There are important factors you need to consider when choosing a gripper.

The process should be kept as simple as possible. Understand the tasks to be performed and what materials will be used. This will give you a guideline on what gripper you should choose. It is also important to understand the types of grippers available and what they do.

Types Of Grippers

There are multiple variations of grippers but they generally fall into the following categories.

  • Vacuum grippers
  • Hydraulic grippers
  • Magnetic grippers
  • Servo-electric grippers
  • Pneumatic grippers

These all differ in their abilities and roles. Their main difference is seen in how they are powered and controlled.

Being specific when selecting a gripper is key. Asking important questions can help you come to a decision;

  • How many items can the gripper handle?
  • Is it specified to a single item or a variety?
  • Are there specific shapes (flat, cubed, irregular or curved) that you will need the gripper to handle?
  • Is the gripper capable of handling your specific shapes?
  • What kind of spaces (open or tight) will the gripper be working in?
  • What are the payload specifications?

These are a few examples of inquiries you can make to help you decide which gripper best suits your needs.

Robot Grippers In The Production Industry

Grippers will come into direct contact with products and raw materials in your business. The tasks they perform are for specific applications. Some of the popular robot grippers include;

Jaw Grippers

These have a jaw-like form. They have a varying number of “fingers”. This will affect their movement and their functionality.

  1. Two-Fingered Robots

They are the simplest form of robotic grippers and are mostly used for simpler jobs. As their name suggests they only have two parallel “fingers”. They clamp over objects by opening and closing. They use force to keep the objects stable.

These types of grippers are not very effective in dealing with irregular shapes and sizes.

  1. Three-Fingered Robots

They have three jaws and are mostly used to pick up delicate objects. Their precision and strength make them ideal for performing specific tasks.

This type of gripper isn’t as commonly used since most tasks can be effectively performed by two-fingered robots. However, they are still very useful because of their adaptability and versatility.

  1. Flexible-Fingered Robots

They can pick up multiple objects. Their flexibility makes them suitable for picking up different objects.

However, they are limited in terms of their ability to handle large volumes and weight.

Flexible Balls

These are grippers in a grain-filled latex balloon. It works in a unique mechanism. The ball is placed on the object to be moved. Air is sucked out of the balloon to cause the grain on the object to tighten its grip. It does this without damaging the object.

It is based on a simple concept and has had a unique effect in the production industry. It is a popular choice because of its versatility.

Benefits Of Robot Grippers

Robot grippers are used in many sectors for different purposes. They have their general and unique benefits.

  • Automated – Grippers need little to no supervision. They work efficiently because of the programs that make them run. The workload in the company is reduced because of the automated systems. Programs can be updated, making them work more efficiently.
  • Increased Production – Having automated robots performing tasks with a company increases production. Robots can perform tasks repeatedly without getting tired. They produce a much higher output than if human beings had performed the tasks.
  • Reduced Costs – Having robots cuts costs. They are more efficient than employees. An automated system means that you need fewer people employed.
  • Customizable – A gripper needs to be well suited to a task or set of tasks. Customization makes this possible. You can have specific needs meet by robot manufacturers to make your gripper specific to tasks.
  • Dexterity – Grippers work in a very efficient way. Features such as flexibility, strength and versatility make them quite efficient at performing tasks. The wide array of grippers available makes them able to perform more with precision and efficiency.
  • Intelligent Sensors – Robots use artificial intelligence. This is a useful tool for grippers. It instructs and guides their movement, interactions and task performance.
  • Combination of Technologies – Using multiple technologies helps you come up with more solutions for your company. This is one of the many features that increase reliable interactions.

Theseare just a few of the benefits of themany other essential benefits of robot grippers.

Wrapping Up

The introduction of robot grippers has revolutionized the manufacturing industry. It has made difficult tasks a lot simpler.

When choosing a gripper, keep in mind important questions. This will help you come to a decision quickly.

Many different grippers are available in the market. They have a wide variety of uses. Knowing some details about the tasks the gripper can perform is helpful.

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