Your robots will grasp, lift, place and release — repeatedly — day in and day out, but they can't do that without the right grippers. Choosing between gripping systems is one of the hardest parts of any robot project, but specialists at Acieta can help.
Robots move tools or workpieces through space. Mounted on the end of the arm, grippers are the interface that let the robot do useful work. The right gripping system increases robotic cell flexibility by supporting varying manufacturing requirements. Coupled with adaptable programming, grippers make it possible to repurpose or redeploy robots in multiple applications.
Understanding Robotic Gripper Types
Most applications need either astrictive or impactive grippers. (The other types are ingressive: meaning pins and contigutive — essentially, adhesive.) Here’s what those two terms mean:
Astrictive grippers use magnetism or vacuum to hold workpieces. They work best with flat or smooth surfaces. Impactive grippers use jaws to grasp. These are the most versatile types of robotic grippers and can hold both workpieces and tools.
Impactive, or jaw-style, robotic gripper systems divide into two-jaw and three-jaw. The two-jaw grippers use a pincer movement that closes onto and grips the workpiece. There are designs for both parallel and scissor-style movement and they can be either pneumatic or servo-actuated. These are good for grasping prismatic shapes with flat sides.
Three-jaw grippers split into two further types. The most widely used look like the jaws of a chuck and grasp short, cylindrical shapes. Three-jaw gripper systems are also used for grasping long shafts, tubes or bars. This type is designed with two fingers opposing a third.
Specifying Robotic Grippers
The gripper assembly forms part of the robot's payload. Always consider this when choosing a robot. Gripping or clamping force is another factor. If the workpiece is easily crushed, specify a gripper system that won't apply excessive force. However, note that rapid robot moves can throw out a part that's held lightly. Specialists at Acieta can advise on this and all other aspects of gripper selection.
Collaborative Robotic Grippers
FANUC gripper robots enable a high degree of collaboration between humans and machines by safely, easily and securely lifting objects that cannot be moved by people alone. The types of grippers used in robots for human collaboration must comply with safety standards that require safety coverings and covered pinch points — and our machines fit this bill. With a FANUC gripper, components are handed off seamlessly from the robot to a human worker, enabling maximum efficiency and safety. In addition, a collaborative robot gripper can be hand-guided by the worker for total control over the process. Robotic gripper systems are a key part of human-machine collaboration in a manufacturing facility.
The array and complexity of robot gripper types make it difficult to pick the best option. The safest approach is to discuss the specific application with an experienced robot systems integrator.
Acieta has a long history in robotic integration and a track record few can match. For more details, look at our About Us page. If you'd like to find out how we can help with robotic gripping systems or your next robotic automation project, enter some details here. A specialist will be in touch.
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