Industrial robot end of arm tooling (EOAT) is undergoing major changes as robotic technology advances and customers demand greater levels of productivity. Robot EOAT – referring to both the robot gripper that touches a part and the end effector behind the gripper – is making industrial robots more productive than ever before.
Tracking the trends in robot EOAT reveals the ways in which robot manufacturers are striving to meet the productivity and efficiency needs of their customers who are operating in an increasingly connected, competitive environment.
Customer Demands Driving Changes in Robot EOAT
Robot users face constant pressure to reduce operating costs while increasing productivity and maintaining strict quality levels. This pressure is then passed up the value chain to robot manufacturers who must accommodate their customers.
Today, robot users want EOAT to be faster, lighter and cheaper to boost their return on investment (ROI) for automation equipment. They also want greater flexibility so that robots can perform more tasks, reducing the initial investment in robotics and improving the overall performance of these systems.
3 Trends in Robot EOAT
Intense demands from robot users are driving changes in robot EOAT. Some of the most consequential changes include:
- Safer Grippers: users are caring more about robot safety because of the productivity benefits and responsibility they have to their crew. Now, EOAT is often equipped with sensors or force limitations that prevent it from hurting a human worker.
- Connected EOAT: a few newer types of EOAT are IoT connected, following the Industry 4.0, for superior data collection and optimization, as well as communication with other smart components in the production cycle.
- Soft Grippers: the need for softer grippers, particularly in food production and processing, has increased greatly in recent years. Soft grippers are delicate enough to handle food without causing damage and flexible enough to grasp multiple types of food with the same gripper.
Industrial robot EOAT is changing just as rapidly as other types of robot technology in an effort to meet the increasingly difficult demands of robot users. Far more advanced than older forms of unconnected and rigid EOAT, today’s robot EOAT enables higher productivity in a wide range of automated applications.
To take a deeper dive on this technology and what’s driving change, watch our free archived webinar, “Building Better End Effectors.”