Reducing costs and increasing the flexibility of their operations have become the major priority for manufacturers so that they could respond speedily to the demands posed by their customers.
For facilitating this, Robotiq has launched a new product, the Adaptive Gripper, which is the first industrial gripper, which would provide industrial robots hand-like capacities. The robots could manipulate an extensive range of parts, control pressure on a given part and detect a grip. Its articulated fingers match the shape of the part to be gripped.
For the past two years, the technology was being developed and tested and finally launched in March 2011. This technology is suitable for robots from several manufacturers. According to Erik Nieves, who is the Director of Technology for Motoman Robotics, it was highly challenging to automate applications, which had a great number of different parts utilizing the present day one-part/one-tool approach. He states that tooling was highly complex and the change of grippers would add to the cycle time and reduce ROI. Most of these operations were still being done manually with the help of human operators. The distribution of the Adaptive Gripper is done by a partner of Robotiq, Motoman Robotics.
Samuel Bouchard, who is the CEO of Robotiq, reveals that humanoid robots with hands resembling human hands have been seen in the media. However, even though there were a wide variety of hands they were available only in the research market. Most of them were flexible but too complex and frail to be put to use in an industrial setting.
This gripper is highly dexterous and rugged, while at the same time very simple and easy to use, bringing in the much needed grasping flexibility to help the manufacturers. It concentrates on applications that include a very high parts handling range and complex parts geometry such as parts positioning, machine tending, parts transfer and assembly.