Automated processes bring efficiency and safety to the food processing industry. Gripping and handling equipment is essential for this. It has direct contact with products that later end up on plates and must therefore be transported hygienically and gently. J. Schmalz GmbH now offers the new finger gripper OFG to handle unpacked food products automatically. Its four slender and rounded bending fingers imitate the human hand and are made of silicone. When the pressure inside the gripper is increased, the finger bends to create a form fit. If the pressure decreases, it retracts. This allows the OFG to place delicate products carefully and precisely into adjacent trays.
The main body and control unit satisfy specific requirements. The FDA-compliant version is ideal for applications in the hygiene sector. Its main body is made of PET-P (polyethylene terephthalate) and designed to be particularly easy to clean. Alternatively, the finger gripper comes with a main body made of aluminum. This model is suitable for applications in industrial environments, e.g. in warehouse logistics or as an assembly aid. A centrally positioned bellows suction cup can optionally increase gripping force and stability during transfer. While the “Basic” control unit implements opening and closing via vacuum and pressure, the “Controlled” control unit allows parameters to be configured via USB or a serial interface. Users can also integrate a robot controller and continuously adjust the opening angle and gripping force. The OFG operates in a pressure range from –0.8 to a maximum of 1.6 bar. It has a repeatability of ±0.06 millimeters at a gripper speed of 0.05 seconds. The finger gripper is heat-resistant up to 200 degrees Celsius and protected against water and dust in accordance with protection class IP68.