Robotic Gripper Designs
Robotic grippers are the most common type of end-effector that is integrated with industrial robots. They can be utilized for a number of automated material handling and robotic assembly applications as they are much more versatile and adaptable than other application specific end-of-arm-tooling devices. Selecting the right robotic gripper may seem like a daunting task but having an understanding of the basic robotic gripper designs can help ease the selection process. In general, there are three types of robot gripper designs; parallel, angled, and three- finger.
ParallelThe parallel gripper design features two sides that will close and open parallel to one another on either side of a part. Parallel grippers typically consist of a two-jaw configuration, allowing for the secure handling of various objects. These grippers can be powered either pneumatically with compressed air or electronically through the use of electric motors. Applications consisting of symmetric and repeatable parts are ideal for the use of parallel grippers. For instance, the FANUC M10ia may be fitted with a parallel gripper for automated pick and place tasks. While the Motoman MPL160 may use a parallel gripper for robotic palletizing.
Parallel grippers are the most widely used out of the three gripper designs. They tend to be the most accurate and can operate within narrow or small spaces. This is especially helpful for automated machine loading tasks that often require parts to be inserted into narrow openings or assemblies with tight tolerances. In addition, the single axis configuration of these grippers eases programming. It is common for used FANUC robots for sale to have parallel grippers already integrated into them.
AngledAngular grippers are designed to move in a sweeping motion in order to grasp workpieces around a center point. In other words, angled grippers approach parts from the side at a given angle, such as 30 degrees, instead of approaching parts from above. Approaching parts from the side keeps the gripper out of the way, preventing any obstruction or interference. Angular grippers can be adapted to various workpieces through their ability to adjust the angles at which they operate. As with parallel grippers, angled grippers may be powered pneumatically or electronically. These can be used with most articulated robots.
Angular grippers are best suited for irregular- shaped or large parts. They are usually implemented in work areas with limited vertical space. However, they are not the most reliable for safe part handling and can be difficult to operate. On the plus side, they tend to be more affordable than the other grippers.