Is a Vacuum Gripper Right for Your Collaborative Robot Application?

Is a Vacuum Gripper Right for Your Collaborative Robot ApplicationVacuum grippers, or suction cup grippers, can be a highly effective and simple gripping solution in a wide range of applications. With the right type of part and the right integration, vacuum grippers can provide powerful, safe grips in collaborative robot applications.

However, there are several other types of grippers out there that rely on force to grip the inside or outside of parts, which can make it difficult to know if a vacuum gripper is the best solution for your collaborative robot. To understand whether or not a vacuum gripper is right for you, it’s important to understand what’s out there in relation to the needs of your application.

Different Types of Vacuum Grippers for Collaborative Robots

There are several types of vacuum grippers available for collaborative robots – each with their advantages and disadvantages. Most collaborative robots utilize either a miniature electromechanical pump or a compressed air-driven pump.

Miniature electromechanical pumps excel in applications with a high degree of mobility, but often generate less power than a compressed air-driven pump. On the other hand, the compressed air-driven pump can provide superior lifting capacity but may end up increasing operating costs because of the electricity required to run the compressor.

Types of Applications Ideal for Vacuum Grippers on Collaborative Robots

Vacuum grippers work when the difference between atmospheric pressure and the vacuum, or negative pressure, is enough to provide the ability to lift, hold, move and more. This can only occur when one side of a part is large enough and flat enough for a vacuum gripper to create enough difference in pressure.

Because of this, parts with large flat sides to them are most ideally suited to the use of vacuum grippers. Additionally, excessively heavy parts may not be suited for vacuum grippers, as an enormous amount of negative pressure would have to be produced.

Vacuum grippers can be an effective gripping solution in collaborative robot applications with light, flat parts. Other applications may find other types of collaborative robot grippers more productive for their particular gripping tasks.

To learn more on this topic, read our member-submitted Tech Paper, “Choose Your Cobot Vacuum Gripper Wisely.”