Grippers in Robotics – Types of Grippers used in industrial applications

What is Grippers : 

End Effectors

An end effector is usually attached to the robot’s wrist, and it allows the robot to accomplish a specific task. This means that end effectors are generally custom-engineered and fabricated for each different operation. There are two general categories of end effectors viz. grippers and tools. Grippers in robotics is important part in robot assembly.

Grippers grasp and manipulate the objects during the work cycle. Typically objects that grasped are the work parts which need to be loaded or unloaded from one station to another. Grippers may be custom-designed to suit the physical specifications of work parts.

Robot grippers are the physical interface between a robot arm and the work piece. This end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) is one of the most important parts of the robot. One of the many benefits of material handling robots is the reduction of part damage. A gripper comes in direct contact with your product, so it’s important to choose the right type of gripper for your operation.

There are four types of robotic grippers: vacuum grippers, pneumatic grippers, hydraulic grippers and servo-electric grippers. Manufacturers choose grippers based on which handling application is required and the type of material in use.

Type of Grippers
The End-of-arm has to be in contact with the objects and interact with them. Adapting these ones to the different objects and industrial activities ended with different kinds of grippers. There are four main types of robot grippers: vacuum grippers, hydraulic grippers,
pneumatic grippers and servo-electric grippers.

1. Vacuum Grippers

The vacuum gripper has been a standard tool for robots in manufacturing due to its high level of flexibility. The tool is made of polyurethane or rubber suction cup to catch the objects. There are some vacuum grippers that use closed-cells foam rubber layer, instead of the suction cups.

vaccum grippers - types of grippers
vacuum grippers – types of grippers

2. Hydraulic Grippers
Hydraulic Grippers are the ones that can apply the most strength and often are used in applications that require a huge amount of force. The force is provided from pumps that can generate up to 13789.51 kPa. Although their strength, they are messier than any other gripper due to the oil that the pumps are using. Also they need more maintenance because of the huge amount of force that they can apply.

hydraulic gripper - types of gripper
hydraulic gripper – types of gripper

3. Pneumatic Grippers
Pneumatic grippers are popular due to their light weight and compact size. They can be design for tight spaces, which can be helpful in manufacturing industry. This kind of gripper can be open and close; because of this their nickname is “bang bang” actuators,
given by the sound they do when the metal-on-metal is operating.

pneumatic gripper - types of gripper
pneumatic gripper – types of gripper

4. Servo-electric Grippers
The servo-electric grippers are becoming more used in the industry; thanks to their easy control. The gripper jaw movements are controlled by electronic motors. These grippers are highly flexible and good for handling different material tolerances. Also they are cost effective because they don’t have air lines and are clean.

electric gripper - types of gripper
electric gripper – types of gripper

5. Magnetic grippers
Magnetic grippers can be configured by permanent magnets or electromagnets. Permanent magnets, don’t need of an external supply for grasping, once an object is grasped there is an additional device called stripper push which separate the object from the gripper. In the other hand, there are the electromagnets, including a controller unit and a DC power which can grasp magnetic objects

electromagnetic gripper - types of gripper
electromagnetic gripper – types of gripper
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