Fraunhofer Institute designs robot grippers with sensitivity

The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechatronics Design IEM has developed a robot gripper that can pick up fragile objects without damaging them. The Fraunhofer Institute announced this on Monday. Instead of pneumatics, the gripper uses an electric drive. It can be used in the food industry, for example, to move sensitive goods.

Mousse, eggs, meatballs and chocolates must not be damaged in the food industry during automated handling. The robotic gripper from the Fraunhofer Institute should be able to do this. Depending on the application, it has two to four fingers made of resilient, flexible plastic.

The fingers are not moved pneumatically, but driven electrically. The Fraunhofer Institute writes in a press release that this is significantly more energy-efficient than a pneumatic drive. In addition, the gripper can be controlled precisely and dynamically, which enables the fingers to be moved in a targeted manner. A sensor in the fingers determines the required force depending on the objects. Sensitive goods can also be gripped in this way.

If the robot gripper is used in collaborative work with people, protective fences should be superfluous. For this purpose, the robot gripper has a sensor-based 360-degree environment detection. The movement axes of the gripper are monitored in terms of height and length. “This multi-sensor system, consisting of distance and thermographic sensors, makes the complete arrangement of cobot and axes collaborative,” says Dr. Christina Henke, head of the Scientific Automation department at Fraunhofer IEM.

Tests with the robot gripper have been successful. Fraunhofer IEM is now looking for partners in industry who want to take over sales.

The robotic gripper from the Fraunhofer Institute will be on display at the Hannover Messe from April 17 to 21 at the joint booth of the Fraunhofer Institute in Hannover.


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