What do you want to grip?
Depending on the mission, grippers can leverage a variety of materials and forces to manipulate objects. Universal Robots produces arms that are compatible with a variety of end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) solutions. These grippers rely on 5 different types of power.
Servo-electric grippers rely on electric motors that respond to precise input from a computer. The robot control unit provides the gripper with instructions based on the task to be completed, as well as the object’s specifications. Servo-electric motors engage the control surfaces to accomplish the assignment.
One key advantage is the clean, streamlined design. No additional lines are required for hydraulic or pneumatic pressure. All of the components are contained within the gripper assembly.
Pneumatic grippers rely on precise pressure from a compressed air supply network for the power to open and close their gripper. Too much pressure could result in damage, but without enough pressure the object falls away.
Parallel grippers often use this technology. They get their name from the fact that the gripping surfaces remain perfectly parallel at all times, regardless of position or pressure exerted. A precise amount of pneumatic pressure is applied to pistons that manipulate the gripper, forcing it to open or close around an object.
Hydraulic grippers use a similar principle to pneumatic grippers. Fluid is pressurized, instead of air. The pistons transfer the force to the claw, opening and closing it around the object.
Both hydraulic and pneumatic grippers require pressurized lines to be run to the units. Unlike servo-electric grippers, the motor applying the pressure is located remotely. This means that a single pressurization system can supply pressure for multiple collaborative robots.
Vacuum grippers rely on suction to grab objects. It may be helpful to envision the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner. With enough suction and structural reinforcement, you could lock onto and manipulate objects throughout your home.
Industrial vacuum grippers can be designed to manipulate a variety of objects - from something as small and delicate as a tiny piece of chocolate, to as large and rigid as a pallet of construction materials.
Magnets can be used to secure any type of gripper to a robot arm. Electromagnets or pneumatically actuated magnets can be used by a gripper to temporarily secure and manipulate objects.
These are often used when manipulating thin metal objects, especially if the metal has holes in it - preventing a vacuum gripper from creating a secure seal.
What task do you have?
Advances in technology continue to shrink the gap between human workers and robots. Universal Robots’ collaborative robots allow companies to blend the strengths of both, greatly improving productivity and enhancing worker safety.
These capabilities are further expanded by selecting one of the robot hand grippers available on the market. These include various types of mechanical grippers, soft grippers, parallel grippers and even robot end-effectors that can mimic human hands.