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Types of Grippers You Can Use for Manufacturing | Dorna Robotics Dorna Robotics - Robot Grippers for Manufacturing Industry

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Types of Grippers You Can Use for Manufacturing

April 10, 2024 32 MINS

In This Article

  1. Why are Grippers Important?
  2. Types of Grippers for Manufacturing
    1. Vacuum Grippers
      1. Suction grippers
      2. Multi-bellows grippers
    2. Pneumatic Grippers
      1. Parallel grippers
      2. Angular grippers
    3. Hydraulic Grippers
      1. Single-acting hydraulic grippers
      2. Double-acting hydraulic grippers:
    4. Servo-Electric Grippers
      1. 2-jaw electric grippers
      2. 3-Jaw Electric Grippers
    5. Soft Grippers
      1. Two-finger grippers
      2. Three-ginger parallel grippers
  3. The End Effector 
  4. Choosing the Right Gripper
  5. The Future of Grippers
    1. Smart Grippers
    2. Biomimetic Grippers
    3. Magnetic Grippers
  6. Dorna Grippers

Grippers are essential components in robotic arms, acting as the interface between the robot and the object it handles. Choosing the right gripper is crucial for an efficient and successful automation process in your manufacturing operations.

Dorna Gripper performing pick and place task.

This blog explores different gripper types, their features, applications, and how they improve production efficiency.

Why are Grippers Important?

The automation trend is sweeping across industries, and grippers in robotics play a vital role in this revolution. They enable robots to perform intricate tasks like grasping, lifting, and precisely placing objects. There are numerous types of mechanical grippers and selecting the most suitable gripper for your specific needs can significantly:

Boost Production Rates

Repetitive tasks are the backbone of many manufacturing processes. Grippers excel at automating these tasks, allowing robots to work tirelessly and consistently, significantly accelerating production speeds.

Enhance Efficiency

Human error is a natural part of any manual operation.  Grippers, however, provide consistent and accurate object handling, minimizing errors and maximizing output. This translates to fewer product defects and a smoother workflow.

Reduce Costs

Labor costs are a significant expense. By automating tasks to robotic arms for manufacturing, you can free up human workers for higher-value activities while reducing overall production costs. Additionally, improved efficiency and reduced errors can lead to lower material waste.

Types of Grippers for Manufacturing

Here’s a breakdown of the most common robot gripper technologies used in manufacturing:

Ideal for flat, porous objects or delicate items that require a gentle touch. They utilize suction cups to grip objects and are widely used in packaging, electronics, and food processing industries.

Due to their non-marring grip, they are suitable for applications where surface preservation is critical.

Dorna multi bellow grippers for manufacturing purpose

Suction grippers

Suction cup grippers feature cups that create a vacuum to grip objects securely. These grippers are suitable for handling materials such as cardboard, glass, or plastic sheets.

Suction cup grippers are widely used in packaging and material handling applications.

Multi-bellows grippers

Multi-bellows grippers utilize multiple suction cups arranged in a bellows-like structure. This design allows for flexibility and adaptability when gripping objects of various shapes and sizes.

Multi-bellows grippers are employed in applications where a single suction cup may not provide sufficient coverage or stability.

These compact and lightweight grippers are powered by compressed air and are popular for their affordability and versatility. They are suitable for various applications, from grasping cylindrical parts to intricate shapes, and are commonly used in automotive and assembly line operations.

However, they can be noisy due to their metal-on-metal operation and may not be ideal for delicate objects. 

Dorna Pneumatic Gripper for manufacturing purpose

Parallel grippers

Parallel grippers are characterized by two parallel jaws that move towards or away from each other. This design provides a simple and effective means of gripping objects with uniform shapes, such as rectangular or cylindrical items.

Parallel grippers are versatile and find applications in tasks like pick-and-place operations and assembly lines.

Angular grippers

Angular grippers, featuring jaws that move in an angular fashion, are suitable for handling irregularly shaped objects. This design allows for a better grasp on non-uniform items, making them ideal for applications where flexibility in gripping is essential.

Angular grippers excel in scenarios where varying shapes or sizes need to be manipulated with precision.

When you need immense gripping force, hydraulic grippers are the go-to option. Their high power makes them well-suited for heavy-duty tasks in metalworking and construction.

However, they are bulkier, messier due to hydraulic oil, and require more maintenance compared to other gripper types.

Single-acting hydraulic grippers

Single-acting hydraulic grippers use hydraulic pressure to close the gripper, relying on springs or external forces to open it.

This design is robust and is often employed in applications where a strong and secure grip is required, such as in material handling or machining tasks.

Double-acting hydraulic grippers

Double-acting hydraulic grippers utilize hydraulic pressure for both opening and closing actions. This results in a more controlled and versatile gripping mechanism, making them suitable for tasks that demand precise and repeatable movements.

Double-acting hydraulic grippers are used in applications where a combination of strength and precision is crucial, such as in heavy machinery assembly.

These electronically controlled grippers offer precise and clean operation. Their adjustable grip force makes them suitable for handling various materials with different tolerances. They are becoming increasingly popular due to their quiet operation, ease of control, and cost-effectiveness over time.

Servo-electric grippers are used ideally for cleanroom environments and applications requiring delicate handling. 

2-jaw electric grippers

2-jaw electric grippers, similar to their pneumatic gripper counterparts, utilize an electric motor for gripping tasks. They offer precise control over the gripping force and position, making them suitable for delicate objects or applications where accuracy is crucial. These grippers are commonly employed in industries such as electronics manufacturing industries and pharmaceuticals.

3-Jaw Electric Grippers

3-jaw electric grippers add an extra dimension to gripping capabilities by providing an additional jaw for enhanced stability. This design is advantageous when dealing with irregularly shaped objects or when a more secure grip is required. 3-jaw electric grippers find applications in tasks like sorting, packaging, and material handling.

Soft grippers, are versatile air-powered soft gripping solution for handling objects of different sizes and textures.

Dorna soft gripper for manufacturing purpose

Two-finger grippers

Two-finger grippers offer a simple yet effective design, featuring two parallel fingers that can move independently. This type of gripper is suitable for handling objects with different widths, making it versatile for pick-and-place operations and assembly tasks.

The ability to adjust each finger’s position independently enhances adaptability in various manufacturing scenarios.

Three-ginger parallel grippers

Three-finger grippers take the concept a step further by incorporating an additional finger. This design provides enhanced stability and flexibility in gripping irregularly shaped objects.

Three-finger parallel grippers find applications in tasks requiring a more secure and precise hold, such as in the handling of delicate materials or complex components.

The End Effector 

The term ‘end effector,’ also known as ‘End-of-arm Tooling’ (EOAT) or robot end-of-arm tooling refers to any device affixed to the end of a robot arm. While grippers, such as a robot arm gripper, represent one type of end effector, there are numerous others with varied functionalities.

For instance, an EOAT gripper may be equipped with a smart camera to aid in inspection tasks. Alternatively, a welding tool end effector can be attached to a cobot, enabling the safe and automated execution of welding tasks.

The versatility of end effectors, including the EOAT gripper, allows robotic systems to perform a diverse range of applications in manufacturing and beyond.

Choosing the Right Gripper

Several factors influence gripper selection for your manufacturing needs. Here are key considerations:

  • Object Characteristics: Weight, size, shape, and material of the object you plan to handle. Gripper selection should consider the physical properties of the object to ensure a secure grasp and prevent damage.

  • Required Force: The amount of gripping force needed to securely grasp and manipulate the object. For instance, heavy objects or those requiring tight tolerances will necessitate a gripper with more gripping power.

  • Precision Level: The degree of precision required for pick-and-place operations. High-precision tasks may benefit from servo-electric grippers or grippers with additional sensors for intricate handling.

  • Cycle Time: How quickly the gripper needs to open, close, and complete grasping cycles. Gripper actuation speed can impact overall production throughput.

  • Environment: The operating environment, considering factors like dust, moisture, or cleanroom requirements. Some gripper types, like hydraulic grippers, may not be suitable for cleanroom environments due to potential oil contamination.

By carefully evaluating these factors and the gripper options mentioned above, you can select the most suitable gripper to optimize your manufacturing processes and achieve peak efficiency.

Business Automation with Dorna robot arms.

The Future of Grippers

Grippers are constantly evolving, with robotic arm costs becoming more affordable. New technologies emerging from prominent robotic arm manufacturers that offer even greater dexterity and grasping capabilities. Here are some exciting advancements to watch for:

Smart Grippers

These grippers incorporate sensors and machine learning algorithms to adapt their grip based on the object’s characteristics. This allows for more robust and flexible grasping in dynamic environments.

Biomimetic Grippers

Inspired by nature, these grippers mimic the grasping capabilities of animals like chameleons or geckos. They can conform to irregular shapes and provide a secure hold on delicate objects.

Magnetic Grippers

For handling ferrous objects, magnetic grippers offer a powerful and efficient solution. They are ideal for applications in the automotive industry or metalworking processes.

Dorna Grippers

Robot arm grippers are the champions of automation in the manufacturing industry, enabling to execute a diverse array of tasks with precision and efficiency. Whether leveraging the adaptability of finger grippers, the strength of hydraulic grippers, or the precision of vacuum grippers, each type boasts its unique advantages and applications.

Dorna, a prominent robot manufacturer of cutting-edge solutions, presents a diverse range of robotic arm kits with versatile and efficient grippers.

Elevate your industrial operations with Dorna.

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