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End Arm Tooling Options for Industrial Automation

Robotic systems include arms and other components capable of moving and manipulating a wide variety of items in the manufacturing, packaging, and fabrication industries. These automation components can increase the speed of production and operate in conditions that are unsafe for human workers. They are a diverse automation solution that can be customized to achieve many purposes across multiple industries and applications. 

When it comes to end of arm tooling options for robotic arms and automation components, there are three main categories: grippers, sensors, and material tooling. 

Grippers

Grippers are one of the more common end of arm tooling options given how they are used in automation sequences. A lot of industrial automation, especially in the manufacturing sectors, deals with picking, sorting, packaging, and assembly, and the ability for a robot to grasp and hold onto objects is heavily important. 

The wide variety of grippers on the market give robotic arms the ability to pick up, hold onto, manipulate, and move a huge variety of items. The weight, distance moved and how delicate the items are all must be taken into consideration when choosing a gripper for your application. 

The various types of grippers include: 

  • Mechanical: use mechanical finger and pincers to grasp and manipulate objects. The force with which they grab can be adjusted. 
  • Vacuum: use external air supply or electrical systems that power the grippers to pick up items using suction cups. These are able to handle objects that require a soft touch and are common in high-speed pick and place applications. 
  • Adhesive: stick to items in order to pick them up and move them. Are able to handle extraordinary lightweight items like pieces of fabric. 
  • Magnetic: able to pick up and move metallic and other magnetic items. The electromagnets used are powered by electricity and can be turned on and off at will. 

Sensors

 

Many automated robot arms have sensors on them both for functionality and safety purposes. These sensors can detect the presence of items and obstacles to fulfill certain tasks. They can also often detect people, shutting down when they come into contact with them. Collision sensors are the primary sensors that are most often used. Anytime a collision is detected by the sensor, from the robot arm coming into contact with an object, the arm stops its motion. This allows human workers to operate safely alongside robotic counterparts. 

 

Material Manipulation Tools

 

In certain instances, robotic arms can be used to form, shape, and manipulate materials during the automation process. These types of tooling options include: 

 

  • Drilling and tapping holes into materials 
  • Welding materials together 
  • Trimming and grinding 
  • Cutting 
  • Smoothing 
  • Injection molding 

 

 Many robotic arms allow you to change out these tools at will to use the same robotic components across multiple applications. Contact us today.

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