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Robot Gripper for Universal Robots

Samuel Bouchard
by Samuel Bouchard. Last updated on Jul 07, 2015 10:23 AM
Posted on Dec 05, 2012 3:00 AM. 3 min read time

Universal Robots are a unique kind of industrial robot. They are safe to interact with, transportable and can be programmed simply by moving the arm along instead of jogging it with the teach pendant. These robots are used in several pick and place, and machine tending applications. Originally sold in Europe (the company is based in Denmark), Universal Robots is now expanding its market globally, including North America.

2-finger Adaptive Gripper on Universal Robot 5

Like most industrial robots, Universal Robots' arms come with a controller and the offering stops at the robot wrist. As most applications they work with concern material handling, one can wonder "what gripper should I use to fully leverage the capabilities of the robot?". The main feature of the robot is its ease of programming. This makes it straightforward for the shop floor people to learn and cost effective to automate small batches. So this is good news if you can automate small batches with it, but what about the custom tooling associated with that?

If the robot has to handle parts of different shapes, we believe that our Adaptive Grippers are an excellent fit for Universal Robots. In fact, Universal Robots have been one of the most popular platforms for our products in the past months and here is why.

  1. Reduce changeover time
    The Adaptive Gripper can adapt to all the parts so you don't need to change grippers between jobs. This reduces the downtime and increases the return on robot investment.
  2. Reduce custom tooling design
    You don't want to have to create a custom gripper or finger design for every new part that you make. Again, using a programmable gripper with intelligent fingers reduces the time and cost of custom tooling.
  3. Mechanical compatibility
    Universal Robots have a payload of 5kg and 10 kg. The 2-finger Adaptive Gripper whose weight is below 1 kg can lift up to 4 kg. The 3-finger Adaptive Gripper whose weight is around 2 kg can lift up to 10 kg in encompassing grips. This size is also a good fit for a lot of material handling. Robotiq can provide the adapter plate to make it easy to attach our grippers to Universal Robots.
  4. Electrical and control compatibility
    The Adaptive Gripper needs a 24 V power supply at 2 A. Although it is not possible to use the robot's internal wiring, this power requirement can be easily met by the gripper controller box that fits within the Universal Robots controller with an auxiliary power supply. The gripper comes with a Modbus TCP communication interface, which makes it is possible to map the registers using Universal Robots' teach pendant. This interface allows access to control the position, speed and force of the gripper, as well as getting information back on part detection, gripper motor current and finger position.
  5. Common partners
    Robotiq and Universal Robots have many resellers in common in Europe and North America. This makes it convenient for the end-user to purchase and get support from a single source. 
3-finger Adaptive Gripper on Universal Robot 10, picture from Robo Gas Inspector 

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Samuel Bouchard
Written by Samuel Bouchard
Samuel is CEO and co-founder of Robotiq. His mission is to free human hands from repetitive tasks. He is also the author of Lean Robotics: A Guide to Making Robots Work in Your Factory. He lives in Québec City with his wife and four children.
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