Automation with batch sizes of one is a real achievement of digitization. However, it poses robot producers and users with the challenge of finding gripper solutions for individual handling tasks in a dynamically changing production environment. J. Schmalz GmbH offers a variety of products for cobots and lightweight robots, from individual components to ready-to-connect end effectors. The vacuum expert is now going one step further with its new lightweight gripper SLG: Users can rapidly configure their own individual systems online without any prior knowledge.
Schmalz has developed its digital platform for doing so alongside the software company trinckle 3D GmbH, based in Berlin, Germany. The specialist for 3D printing applications provides its expertise in cloud technology and its know-how around automated construction and configuration while Schmalz has the specialist knowledge in vacuum automation with cobots. The result is an intuitive engineering tool that allows users to focus solely on finding the solution for their own actual tasks.
From Cardboard Boxes to Free-form Surfaces
To start with, the user defines the handling task. Alongside various, predefined workpieces, the user can upload his or her own object – regardless of whether it is cubic, rectangular or a free-form surface – and then starts to configure the appropriate gripper. The tool intuitively guides the user through the various design steps, where he or she can choose the number of suction cups and their diameter and type from the Schmalz Select preferred product range. The intelligent software positions the suction cups, or the user can determine their position and the angle of the suction points him or herself.
Finally, the user selects the appropriate flange insert and the vacuum generation required. Once all the components and parameters are defined, the customer receives a CAD model and the quotation for his or her gripper solution. The cutting-edge, additive manufacturing technology is the key to cost-efficient and rapid single component production. It also reduces the number of interfering edges, for instance by fully integrating the air supply. The gripping system can be combined with various vacuum components such as the CobotPump ECBPi or vacuum switch VSi. The system allows Schmalz to produce especially lightweight and robust grippers tailored to the specific application in no time. The Schmalz solution is adapted for lightweight robots and cobots and can hold loads of up to ten kilograms.