Robot Gripper – Choosing a Gripper for a Collaborative Robotic Arm

Modern-day collaborative robots offer practicality and affordability. This makes them easy and cost-effective to adapt. The most significant benefit of using collaborative robots to automate different processes is the accuracy and consistency they deliver.

A collaborative robot has the ability to work the same tasks 24-hours a day without needing a break, compromising on product quality, or reducing the speed of the production cycle.

Collaborative robots have the ability to perform numerous tasks done by human workers. This makes them perfect for different industries like medical and lab services, manufacturing, packaging, and palletizing. Collaborative robots work alongside humans without risk of injury.

To enjoy the profits offered by collaborative robots, your cabot needs to be fitted with the right features and tools. This way, the collaborative robot is able to perform different tasks efficiently and effectively.

Robotic grippers are an important part of a robotic arm. To ensure you choose the perfect robot gripper for your needs, you need to consider certain factors as suggested by Universal-Robots.

The operation environment

Source: ifr.org

When choosing the perfect robot gripper, the work environment you plan to deploy it in is an important consideration to make.

Grippers come in different mechanics suited for different work environments. For instance, hydraulic and pneumatic power grippers are ideal for some robots but not others.

Hydraulic grippers are known to spill oil, while pneumatic grippers mostly cause contamination. By considering the work environment of a potential gripper, it becomes easier to choose the least problematic one for the task.

One more thing to consider is whether the gripper would be used in food or pharmaceutical production lines because there are stricter regulations on the use of robotics in the production of items that will be consumed by humans. This makes hydraulic grippers unsafe for this type of environment because of their leakage problem.

On the other hand, pneumatic grippers are perfect for use in shipping lines and cargo transportation. However, due to their contamination problem, they aren’t ideal for use in medical environments like labs, hospitals, etc. It would contaminate sterilized equipment and make them unusable which is not what any individual in the medical and scientific field wants.

It’s crucial that you analyze the environment you want the collaborative robot to be working in and for what purpose – if you can figure this out, you can choose the perfect gripper for your collaborative robot and make it as productive and efficient as possible.

The shape of the application area

Source: automate.org

To choose the perfect robot gripper, it is important to consider your project, particularly the part the gripper will be used on.

The reason this is important is that different grippers are made for different shapes and thus work better for the designated use. If you plan to use the gripper on flat parts, the best choice is one that can grip parts from the top like a suction cup gripper.

A suction cup gripper is also ideal for gripping parts with parallel faces. However, the grip is better when done using a finger gripper.

Generally, the rule of thumb when choosing the perfect gripper for different parts is to consider the number of fingers a human uses to pick the part. This makes it easy to choose the perfect gripper for different parts based on use.

It is also crucial to consider the reach of the fingers of your gripper. You don’t want the grippers to be too long but you don’t want them too short either. This is because grippers with short finger reaches won’t be able to hold all the objects you want them to.

Conversely, grippers with too long finger reach require more torque and power and if the objects you want it to handle have no use for the extra finger reach then investing in a gripper with long finger reach will cost you unnecessary electricity costs for something you don’t have much use for.

Part friction

Source: automate.org

The friction or the part you intend to grip with a robot gripper is an important factor to consider when choosing the right gripper for a part.

Generally, a gripper with groovy fingers is better for handling round shapes compared to using finger grippers. Using a gripper with fingers is harder when you need to center the object, making groovy fingers better options.

When handling parts with rugged edges, non-groovy grippers are better since they have edges to provide enough resistance for the perfect grip. When handling smooth, cylindrical parts, it is better to use a grooved-finger gripper.

Friction may not seem like a major factor but consider a situation where you are working with delicate, soft objects and the gripper on your collaborative robot’s arm doesn’t have any grooves. This can easily cause the objects to slip from the robot’s arm breaking them or leaving them with some form of permanent damage.

Pneumatic grippers can handle most objects regardless of their surface, size or shape but in the cases of objects that have a slippery surface, they can fail dramatically as their mechanical fingers have no way of grabbing these objects. In this scenario, vacuum grippers with suction cups can come handy.

The cost

Source: universal-robots.com

When it comes to pricing, robot gripper costs depend on the powering component of the gripper. Electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, suction and magnetic types all determine the price of a gripper. The powering mechanics are determined by the manufacturing technology used to make them.

Like any other investment, you need to ensure buying a robot gripper makes financial sense for your business. How much money you spend is determined by how you as a user have needs for the arm.

If you plan to use the gripper in handling special parts that need specialized care, a specialized gripper is better to invest in, even though it is more expensive.

Specialized grippers like soft grippers might be more expensive than other grippers but the value they give with their precise touch and perfect handling of oddly shaped objects can provide a lot more utility for your business or organization than standard grippers.

On the other hand, if you plan to use the gripper to handle normal parts that do not call for specialized handling, buying an affordable gripper makes more financial sense. These grippers are commonly seen in warehouses and product transportation supply lines where they can easily pick up large boxes of items that are inexpensive in value.

If you already have a gripper, it is possible to customize it for other job descriptions. However, customized grippers are usually less flexible compared to ones created for specific task. That’s why we don’t really recommend customizing a gripper unless the particular gripper is too expensive to put out of commission or can be easily reprogrammed to serve other uses.

Conclusion

Choosing the perfect gripper for the arm of your collaborative robot can be a tricky business, especially considering the wide uses and types of grippers out there. We hope this article helped you choose the perfect gripper for your collaborative robotic arm and if it did, please consider following our website as it will help us out immensely.

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