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Choosing The Right Grippers/Actuators

DAS Services Inc.

A lot of different robot grippers are available in the market. However, the two which are used distinctively are; Electric Grippers and Pneumatic Grippers. Electric grippers are very useful in specific robotic applications. The electric gripper have several differences among themselves. Electric grippers are operated via electric actuators.

In this article we will talk about choosing the right Grippers/ Actuators

Servo-Grippers vs. On-Off Grippers

A servo-gripper uses servo-motors to control the position, speed and the force applied by the gripper’s finger. Basically, a gripper can have a wide range of positions to grasp, that too at different speed, and with different amounts of force. This simply means that a wider object can be grasped with a high amount of force, whereas for small objects a lighter force will be required or vice versa depending on the material to be grasped. If the gripper has a wide stroke, then there will be a partial opening and closing of gripper. Also, the grippers feedback can be used in the robot logic, which means grasped object can be detected and program can be continued afterwards.

However, an on-off gripper comes with the minimal adjustments. The gripper's fingers can either be opened or closed. This means, the opening range and force cannot be modified, only a specific kind of object can be grasped with on-off gripper, as the name said it all. Mostly, these grippers need a custom jaw to grasp a fragile or irregular object. Furthermore, on-off grippers use only simple input/output commands (I/O) just like pneumatic grippers. Most often, this technology is the replacement of a pneumatic system in the robotic cell.

Electric Gripper Integration

While choosing the electric gripper make sure you check their integration as well. On-off grippers are uses simple technology and hence they are easy to integrate. They can either be opened or closed. On the other hand, integrating a servo-gripper can be more complex. As, there are different ways to communicate with a servo-gripper. Based on your need you can choose the one which best suits your requirement.

Robot gripper choice

Some robot gripper have pre-sets and can be actuated with simple input/output (I/O) commands. Mostly, these grippers need to use a communication protocol like Field-bus such as in case for an Adaptive Gripper. To make the integration easier most popular robots come with software packages for a plug & play integration.

However, for the Robotic Adaptive Gripper, companies usually provide adapters or couplings that get fit between the gripper and the robot. There is an array of these adapters and couplings available to choose from.

There is other most important aspect to the integration of an electric gripper i.e., to provide power to the robot gripper. Most often, these industrial robot use electrical power, so, connecting the controller to the gripper becomes easy.

To pan out….

Well, the truth remains the best gripper will always be the one that fits your application. While choosing a gripper you need to see the specifications such as payload, speed, weight and environment.

Today, the majority of grippers available in the market have some type of holder on a slider for which you will need a custom jaws, still few adaptive grippers come with self-adaptive fingers, which can pick an unmatched variety of parts.