Schmalz Develops New Gripper System

Published on : Friday, August 2, 2013

schmalzJ. Schmalz GmbH has developed a modular system for the modular design of vacuum end effectors (VEE). As a technological comparison shows, this system, as an alternative to conventional design and manufacture, can save time and money when constructing a gripper for packaging machines.

According to the “Configuring rather than designing” principle, Schmalz offers a modular system comprising different individual parts which can be combined using easy-to-operate configuration software to form an individual gripper. The key idea is to be able to configure and modify grippers immediately, rather than having to spend time and money designing and individually manufacturing them. A technological comparison outlines the time and cost-related advantages the VEE system offers.

According to Schmalz’s research, conventionally designed vacuum grippers are at a bottleneck in terms of design, assembly and start of operations for customer-specific packaging machines. The reasons for this are due to complex and complicated processes from the design phase through to starting operation. Machine manufacturing companies / system integrators create offers for future machine users based on technical specifications or a process description. In many cases, product samples are not yet available at this stage, or they are only prototypes and are not the final design. When the order is placed, a detailed machine concept is then drawn up and design is begun. A vacuum gripper is usually only designed after the machine concept has been fully drawn up in detail.

According to Schmalz’s calculations, the design and manufacture of a gripper by a machine manufacturing company results in a design process and manufacturing period, incl. waiting times, of one to four weeks. This is also dependent on the machine manufacturing company’s range of manufacture. The waiting time for the new product can be further prolonged if gripper components are largely purchased. For complex work-pieces such as flexible bags with comparatively little content, vacuum grippers also have to be optimised in order to achieve reliable results.

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