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 Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Intelligent, efficient PLC programming: Cost-saving programming languages are available now; Automation system upgrades; Help from the cloud; Improving flow control; System integration tips
Smarter machines require smarter systems; Fixing PID, part 3; Process safety; Hardware and software integration; Legalities: Integrated lean project delivery
Choosing controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, DCS? What's best for your application?; Wireless trends; Design, integration; Manufacturing Day; Product Exclusive
PLCs, robots, and the quest for a single controller; how OEE is key to automation solutions.
This article collection contains several articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again