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Robot Bionics, Inspiration From Nature
- Jan 28, 2019 -

With the expansion of industrial robot product application scenarios, the requirements for end tools are becoming more and more diverse, especially the rise of collaborative robots. We need different types of fixtures to complete the pick and place of different objects.Generally, the materials and shapes of industrial robots grabbing objects are various, so the industry needs to adapt different grips to meet the requirements of the task.

At present, the end tools are pneumatic, electric and hydraulic. The first two are more common in lightweight industrial robots. They are environmentally friendly and energy-saving, and are widely used in automation tasks in different scenarios.There are also many end-effector manufacturers, such as Germany's Xiongke, Denmark's OnRobot, Germany's SCHmalz, Germany's Festo and the US ATI. These leading companies have launched a powerful and suitable grip for various industrial robot products through continuous innovation. .

Recently, OnRobot, a leader in collaborative robotic end tools, announced that it will release the latest end tool Gecko Gripper at ATX West in California,which helps robots easily pick flat and smooth surfaces without the need for compressed air as a drive, which saves a lot of energy compared to conventional pneumatic grips.

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Robot innovation, inspired by nature

People design robots that mimic human-functional devices through mechanical and intelligent control techniques, instead of performing human tasks, and ultimately better serve humans. Nowadays, more and more robot manufacturers are beginning to look for product design inspiration in nature, and launch bionic robot products and functional components.

OnRobot's Gecko Gripper mimics the way gecko climbs, using millions of microfibrous structures to adhere objects to surfaces using the van der Waals force principle.This way you can stick to a variety of surfaces, including fragile items that cannot be handled by vacuum clamps.Conventional vacuum clamps require compressed air, which is costly, consumes a large amount of power, and is bulky. And Gecko Gripper takes a new approach and has a big competitive advantage.

Gecko Gripper was originally developed to see the challenges of performing various fine-tuning tasks in traditional applications and material handling designs, such as picking up porous and fragile objects such as PCB boards. Conventional vacuum clamps lose suction when they encounter an object opening.InRobot was inspired by the gecko lizard's foot, and through the study of new polymers, Gecko Gripper was introduced to pick up more objects, including those with holes, and achieve higher-strength gripping capabilities.

Functional upgrade, sensor lift fixture efficiency

When the robot picks up an object, it needs to sense the size, position and weight of the object in order to accurately pick up the object.

OnRobot is attempting to provide force and position feedback to the fixture through the sensor to help the operator adjust the optimal path and position.

On ATX, OnRobot will also showcase its new gripper RG2-FT, which has a built-in six-dimensional force sensor and laser proximity sensor for detecting and locating objects, which is the first sensory Smart fixture products on the market. Adding the sensor's end tool enables collaborative robots to be deployed faster and increase productivity.

In the past, robot manufacturers installed mechanical sensors on the robot arm to achieve precise motion control. Now, the OnRobot end tool has such a sensor, the function and effect are the same, meaning that ordinary industrial robots are equipped with this fixture and can have the function of mechanical perception.

Human-machine collaboration is seen as an important trend in the robotics industry. In the future, people and machines will work together, and collaborative machines will help humans accomplish tasks more efficiently. Therefore, collaborative robots must have high security, and advanced sensor technology will be the basis for improving machine safety and an important technology to improve the accuracy and efficiency of robots.