When implementing an automated system for your production line, it’s essential to choose the right End of Arm Tooling (EOAT) device. Designed for robots, these grippers grasp and move objects to increase production, but you need to have the right type of robotic gripper to make your automation process successful.
The right EOAT shouldn’t compromise the integrity of your applications or employee safety—yet without the right device, your automation systems won’t benefit. These tools have a variety of ends including robotic fingers, vacuum cups, pliers, and more, and can range from electric to hydraulic.
There are several factors to take into account when choosing the right gripper for your application. Here’s how you can evaluate and pick the best one!
Choose the Right Gripper for Your Specific Process
Consider the specific process you need the gripper for, as this will influence what type you choose. The speed of the process, the environment, and the level of precision are all factors to take into account.
If your process is fast, vacuum cups are a practical consideration. However, if your application needs slower yet more accurate manipulation, robotic fingers or pliers may be better options.
Harsh environments or manufacturing facilities that have a lot of dust or debris need to ensure their robotic grippers are built to withstand such conditions while still being appropriate for your industry. For example, hydraulic grippers aren’t allowed in applications in the food industry due to the potential for oil leaks and contamination.
For applications that require high precision, mechanical grippers are ideal. If your EOAT needs to be able to reliably sort parts, especially when there are inconsistent part sizes, choosing a gripper that excels in precision is necessary.
Consider the Shape, Weight, and Size of Your Parts
Next, consider your parts when it comes to choosing the right EOAT gripper. Size, shape and surface type, and weight are all essential factors when it comes to making the best choice.
- Size. If you’re considering robotic fingers for your gripper, the larger the part size, the more fingers you’ll need for your device. Small or irregularly shaped parts typically require grippers with high precision to streamline your automation process.
- Shape. Certain robotic grippers are better for certain shapes. For example, parts with flat surfaces can be moved by grippers with vacuum cups or two-jaw grippers, while other shapes can be handled by multi-finger tools. Automation processes moving irregularly-shaped parts can benefit from electric grippers, which tend to be more flexible than pneumatic ones. Parts with cylindrical surfaces need to have three-jaw grippers or an alternative such as collet grippers. If you manufacture textiles, needle grippers may be beneficial, while multi-finger grippers are best for parts that aren’t traditionally able to be moved easily in automation, such as uneven or circular objects.
- Weight. Your gripper needs to be able to handle the weight of the part while at the same time keeping up with the speed your process requires. This is where calculations, including the part weight and gripper acceleration, will help maximize the benefits of your EOAT device and preventing damage.
Remember that when applying automation to collaborative applications in which humans and robotic tools work together, you’ll need an EOAT device that’s compliant with all International Organization for Standardization (ISO) safety standards.
Get the Perfect EOAT Device With Us at RAD
Many factors influence the success of your automation process when it comes to EOAT devices. By considering your automation needs as they relate to your procedures and parts, you can make the best decision for your arm gripper. At RAD, we offer a range of end of arm tooling devices for you to maximize productivity in your manufacturing processes—check out our EOAT grippers today!