Alternative, Intelligent, Adaptable
SCHUNK Inc.Posted 04/23/2012Mechatronic gripping modules offer numerous possibilities for users and design engineers. SCHUNK is now going one step further, by bundling numerous mechatronic modules in a single modular system. The spectrum extends from simple grippers as an alternative to pneumatic grippers to versions with integrated intelligence and adaptable, mechanical grippers that can be equipped with a broad range of motors and functions.
Electrically driven gripper as an alternative to pneumatics
The electrically driven small parts gripper EGP proves that mechatronic modules don’t have to be complicated. The EGP focuses on the essential and places hardly any demands on the user. For example, it is very easily controlled by the sensor distributor. It also allows the user to quickly convert from pneumatic to electric gripper modules. An added advantage is that the sensor system can be transferred 1:1 to the EGP.
Compared with other electrically driven small parts grippers on the market, the EGP is faster and has a higher gripping force. Its powerful cross roller guide ensures high efficiency and makes the gripper highly dynamic, especially for demanding Pick&Place applications. Since excess material is saved on the gripper housing and internal components made of special high-performance aluminum reduce the weight, this enhances the dynamics and energy efficiency of the higher level system.
Intelligent grippers shorten processes
The second pillar of the mechatronic modular system from SCHUNK is the intelligent mechatronic gripper. These grippers allow optimization of production, assembly, and handling processes and even implementation of completely new solution strategies. This is demonstrated by the 50. Easy commissioning is already built into this 2-finger parallel gripper. In addition to Profibus DP, CAN, and RS232, it also has an Ethernet TCP/IP interface, which due to the integrated web server allows fast and easy commissioning using a standard web browser. No additional software is necessary. An electronic sensor interface is integrated in the base jaws of
the gripper, which makes it possible to incorporate diverse sensors in the gripping process.
The highlight of the gripper is the intelligent detection of gripped parts. In combination with the high positioning accuracy of the gripper, this allows the WSG 50 to execute a gripping command with optimized cycle times.
This significantly reduces the load on the higher level process controller, because the gripper itself features intelligent functions for independent execution of sub-routines. Depending on the respective application, the functionality of the WSG 50 can be individually adapted by means of the built-in, easy-to-learn script language. Once the scripts have been created, they are simply saved on the built-in SD card. This option of individual programming lets users solve difficult tasks reliably and with relative ease.
Adaptable gripping modules
The third and final pillar consists of mechatronic gripping systems with adaptable electric drives. Depending on the handling system and the desired functions, these modules can be equipped with a broad range of servo motors. It is possible, for example, to control the module with the same commands used for the higher level robot. Every gripping position can be changed easily and flexibly due to compatible control signals. In addition, the characteristics of the system controller with respect to programming, safety, or field buses can be used directly. The most recent example for such an adaptable gripper is the robust long-stroke gripper . All standard industrial servo motors can be used to drive the gripper, in particular also servo motors with a voltage range starting at 230V AC. Depending on the application, the motor can be flange mounted parallel to the direction of motion, which is especially favorable for robot applications in which the height of the gripper needs to be minimized. Alternatively, it can be mounted at a right angle to the direction of motion, to minimize the width of the gripper for gantry applications. The EGA has an extremely flat and compact design and minimal interfering contours. Due to the anti-friction guideway, the EGA is always precise and long-lasting. The weight-optimized design of the gripper and the dynamics and energy efficiency further enhance the system.
In the opinion of Matthias Poguntke, Business Unit Manager for Product- and Portfolio Management at SCHUNK, both pneumatic and electric drives will be viable alternatives in the future. “Mechatronic modules are especially flexible and very attractive in economic terms, despite the higher initial investment,” Poguntke explained. “Arguments for pneumatic grippers are the attractive price, the robust construction, and the user-friendly commissioning and maintenance.” He therefore recommends comparing the application, environment, and individual requirements to determine which drive type is more cost effective.
SCHUNK is the worldwide competence leader for clamping technology and gripping systems. Totaling more than 60 years of experience, SCHUNK is a family owned operation and a global player in one.
Visit SCHUNK from May 22 to May 25, 2012
at the Automatica in Munich, Germany!
Hall A2, Booth 103
Automation Group Manager