Bionic grippers for automation

The NanoForceGripper by Festo is modeled off of the gecko and birds to improve accuracy and durability for better robotic product or part handling.

05/21/2012


The NanoForceGripper by Festo is modeled off of the gecko and birds to improve accuracy and durability. Courtesy: FestoFesto's NanoForceGripper can be used and applied in automation technology with the NanoForceGripper.

Gripping, holding, and setting down object are vital production processes that are performed using automation technology. Conventional gripper solutions, however, are not always very energy-efficient when it comes to their gripping force to weight ratio. Nature, on the other hand, abounds with perfect examples of principles of efficiency. Festo’s mission with the Bionic Learning Network is to transfer these principles to automation technology. This is because the best way of optimizing energy consumption in industry is to exploit existing potential in production processes. 

With the NanoForceGripper, engineers from the Festo Bionic Learning Network have developed a gripper whose suction cup-like components are modelled on the pads of a gecko. NanoForceGrippers cling to the surfaces of the object to be gripped thanks to tiny, intermolecular forces of attraction called van der Waals forces. A key component of the gripper is the Gecko Nanoplast tape on its underside with 29,000 gripping elements per cm².

Once a part is gripped, it is permanently held by the gripper without the need for energy. A counteracting force is only needed when it is time to release the bond and set down the gripped object. The tape is peeled off by means of a structure with Fin Ray Effect, which is modelled on the tail fin of a fish. The spring forces are released by a push-push mechanism that deforms the structure from a straight surface to a curved one. The holding surface covered by the tape becomes increasingly smaller until the gripped object is released gently. Energy-free holding and energy-efficient gripping are an innovation for grippers that work with a push-push mechanism. In particular, this type of energy-free holding of objects was not previously possible. 

The NanoForceGripper can grip especially delicate objects with smooth surface such as glasses or displays without almost any energy. The new technology complements the existing pneumatic gripping technology and can be used as needed and as appropriate to the application.

Festo

www.festo.com 

- Edited by Chris Vavra, Control Engineering, www.controleng.com 



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me