Again in 2014, Robotiq CEO Samuel Bouchard wrote “Robot Vacuum Cup Grippers: Top 5 Problems,” introducing the primary challenges the business was going through with vacuum grippers. Now that the business of collaborative robots has drastically developed, the vacuum gripping know-how has much more to supply and is extra accessible than ever earlier than.
Since at Robotiq our mission is to free human fingers from tedious duties, we purpose to all the time enhance our instruments and know-how as a way to simplify collaborative robotic functions in order that factories can begin manufacturing sooner.
As we preserve making progress with reference to hoover grippers and suction cups, we couldn’t miss the chance to have a second have a look at what the issues had been again then, and see the place we’re standing now.
Downside #1 – “Points with different floor varieties.”
Assertion: Irregular shapes, uneven and soiled surfaces can stop environment friendly gripping.
Two main enhancements come into play relating to this matter: the number of suction cups, bellows, and vacuum blocks, and the vacuum stream fee.
The variety of producers and product strains has considerably elevated within the final 5 years (consider Piab’s Value Line® in 2015, Schmalz’s VCBL-GL vacuum block in 2016, FIPA’s Variopack® in 2018) and their tackle the issue is to broaden the vary of objects that may be held utilizing vacuum grippers.
Whereas superior filters and filter supplies enable working with soiled surfaces, choosing the proper bellow construction for suction cups may also help an awesome deal by way of gripping irregular shapes.
With reference to hoover stream fee, the varied methods of adjusting it now pave the best way for gripping heavy, fragile, porous and uneven workpieces. Does the repeatability and accuracy points stay? Sure and no. Although finger grippers get the job achieved, extra elements similar to a imaginative and prescient system and/or power torque sensor work as much as precision for cobots (collaborative robots) geared up with vacuum grippers.
Downside #2 – “Vacuum robotic grippers can go away marks on some surfaces.”
Assertion: Eradicating marks can require extra sources, due to this fact consuming money and time.
In the identical vein, the most recent technological developments in vacuum end-effector supplies enable customers and integrators alike to take advantage of out of suction methods.
Vacuum space gripping methods may be fairly massive, however they ship when comes the time to scale back contact with the workpiece as a lot as attainable. For example, Schmalz’s FXP area gripping system may be geared up with a protecting cowl made of froth and mesh that additionally acts as a particle filter. Plus, changeups are made straightforward. Angled functions are considerably of an issue given the scale of the tip effector and the dearth of shear power efficiency present in vacuum cups.
Oppositely, vacuum cups product of mark-free supplies additionally made their method in the marketplace. Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), nitrile-PVC (NPV) and nitrile rubber (NBR) are some examples of suction cup supplies that scale back marking.
However then once more, it really works higher when the lifting power is parallel with the thing being gripped.
On a unique observe, with a greater management over the vacuum stream, operators can stop the suction impact which frequently instances result in floor marking. Limiting the utmost vacuum distribution degree proper from the consumer interface solves many issues, and regulating the inlet air stress of pneumatic instruments assist in lowering the lifting power.
Robotiq Vacuum Grippers can deal with a variety of functions and are perfect for choosing up uneven and even workpieces.
Downside #three – “Vacuum robotic grippers are compliant.”
Assertion: An excessive amount of compliance can place gripped workpieces at undesired angles and scale back repeatability in choosing and putting.
An excessive amount of compliance is like no compliance.
Historically, pneumatic vacuum grippers allowed for a fast grasp of workpieces in industrial functions that required little or no precision. They had been chosen due to their versatility and ease of use. There was much less programming to do, they had been cheaper than robotic grippers and extremely customizable. Their compliance prevented them from being utilized in areas the place repeatability was a prime precedence.
However the early days of vacuum grippers are lengthy gone. What has modified since then? Utilizing vacuum grippers opens up an unlimited subject of automation initiatives in collaborative robotics. Not solely can vacuum grippers maintain advanced, burdensome or flat objects, however additionally they may be positioned precisely—in industries similar to electronics, automotive, precision meeting, and far more. Clearly, the primary benefit lies with the mixing of imaginative and prescient and power sensing methods on cobots—which can also be attainable with industrial robots, albeit extra advanced.
Downside #four – “Vacuum robotic grippers want customized end-of-arm tooling to help them.”
Assertion: The design of customized end-effectors may be tedious and expensive.
Piab’s application configurator, Robotiq’s brackets, and the varied patented air nodes are solely the tip of the iceberg: all the pieces is about customization. Reusing gear in a number of functions is essential. Chasing becoming suppliers ought to now be a factor of the previous.
Whereas altering a suction cup is a lesser process, mounting totally different holders relying on the applying may be fairly a burden.
Flexible holder systems, decentralized vacuum turbines, manifolds on racks, common valve terminals… You identify it! With smaller vacuum turbines and adaptable holding elements, there is no such thing as a restrict to what the cobot can carry out. Sawing aluminum extrusions shouldn’t be part of the mixing course of. Take the time to assume the duty over and discover what’s on the market. Then equip your robotic cell with helpful, versatile elements.
Downside #5 – “The standard issues with compressed air.”
Assertion: Compressed air just isn’t power environment friendly and might introduce filth.
The principle breakthrough right here is the democratization vacuum grippers. Vacuum turbines with out the necessity for compressed air provide are a cleaner resolution, in fact, but additionally boasts another options. Amongst others, they can be utilized for performing stationary dealing with duties, and put in on cell robotic cells.
However, since we can’t merely rule out the compressed air vacuum options, the most recent programming modes and methodologies enable for much less air leakage, which suggests much less waste. Robotiq’s Sensible mode used with their line of Vacuum Grippers is simply an instance. Claiming an computerized timeout delay, the Sensible mode prevents power waste and on the similar time places ahead a security function.
Easy use of Regulator and Filter can clear up most issues of filth within the air. A part of the same old FRL the place the lubricant is prevented, it’s a commonplace piece of kit between air supply and the precise gear. Superior air gear as screw compressor improved compressed air manufacturing lowering the price of using air.
In a nutshell, because of the most recent supplies and shapes, exact vacuum stream and full customization of finish effectors, the regular progress in recent times led to the entry of vacuum grippers in significantly niched industrial areas, and to their grand foray within the cobot business.