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July 2019

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New Gripper Technologies

OnRobot has introduced a new gripper as a cost-efective alternative to vacuum solutions, and a new RG2-FT intelligent gripper that can "see and feel" objects using built-in force/torque sensing.

Gecko Gripper

The new Gecko Gripper uses millions of micro-scaled fibrillar stalks that adhere to a surface using van der Waals forces-the same forces that give geckos their unique ability to scale walls and suspend from ceilings.

"Gecko Gripper lets robots pick up flat, smooth objects with significant energy savings over existing grippers, such as vacuum grippers, which require costly, power-intensive compressed air," said a company spokesperson. "The Gecko Gripper interfaces with any type of robot and can affix to a wide range of surfaces, including fragile items that vacuum grippers cannot handle. The Gecko Gripper also offers competitive advantages over electrostatic grippers, which are weaker and require high-voltage systems to operate."

In its initial design the Gecko Gripper progressed from a Stanford research project to the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab to industry through multiple collaborations. The original NASA use case was for salvaging and repairing satellites such as solar panels, given the Gecko Gripper's unique ability to operate in a vacuum. Perception Robotics created the first industrial grippers with new polymer research that increased gripping strength by 5X. Perception was then acquired by OnRobot, which develops and commercializes innovations that help manufacturers take full advantage of collaborative robotics.

"The market reaction to the Gecko Gripper has been extremely positive," said Kristian Hulgard, OnRobot's General Manager for Americas. "We see the gripper now challenging traditional application and material handling design in a wide range of delicate tasks, such as picking up porous and fragile objects like PCB boards. The Gecko Gripper excels at picking up objects with holes that vacuum grippers cannot address, since they lose suction when air passes through openings in the object."


An update to OnRobot's first edition, the RG2-FT now has built-in force/torque sensing, supporting workpiece detection and centering. "With inbuilt 6-axis F/T and proximity laser sensors at the fingertips, the RG2-FT is the first intelligent gripper on the market that can see and feel objects, thus ensuring faster deployment of collaborative applications and ultimately higher productivity," said the spokesperson.

"The RG2-FT gripper is a sophisticated-yet entirely accessible-new piece of technology that manufacturers with tasks such as assembly, insertion and quality inspection are now requesting," said Hulgard. "The intelligent force feedback provided by the gripper's sensors will also help operators in adjusting their applications for optimal design and positioning."

For more information contact:

OnRobot Americas

222 W Las Colinas Blvd.

Ste. 854E, #120

Irving, TX 75039

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