End of arm tooling (EOAT) is a crucial aspect of robotic technology. It refers to the equipment that interacts with parts and components, typically at the end of a robotic arm. For example, the welding torch on a robotic welding system.
The EOAT gives a robot a specific functionality and can be changed to fit different applications or even be built to accommodate several processes at once. Either way, advancements in EOAT capabilities are parallel to advancements in robotic capabilities.
What Kinds of Applications Has Advanced EOAT Enabled?
Random bin picking, where a robot picks and places a variety of part sizes and shapes from a bin, has emerged as a mainstream application. While vision systems have certainly played a large role in making this application possible, so has EOAT.
For random bin picking, EOAT needs to be extremely flexible with the ability to effectively pick and place several different types of parts. This provides numerous advantages for manufacturers, as the only alternative is to have a robotic system for every type of part that needs handled.
Popular Types of EOAT in Robot Applications
There are many different types of EOAT for robots: grippers, welding torches, force-torque sensors, material removal tools, collision sensors, tool changers and more. They’re powered electrically, hydraulically, mechanically or pneumatically. The application dictates which type of EOAT is needed.
Currently, and in the near future, pneumatic EOATs have proven to be the most popular, since they’re easy to integrate and pack a lot of power in a small package. Grippers are also a popular EOAT for robots, as pick and place applications are prime targets for automation and the gripping capabilities of robots has advanced significantly in recent years.
EOAT is an important part of a robotic system. It’s what gives a robot its functionality, and as EOAT advances, so does robotics.
Learn more about EOAT trends and what this means for robotics in our industry insights paper, "Basic EOAT & Tooling Trends for Consumer Goods and Beyond."