What are servo grippers ?


If you are looking for a way to improve your manufacturing processes, you might want to consider using servo grippers. Servo grippers are devices that enable robots to pick up and hold objects using electric motors and controllers. They are becoming more popular in the industry because they are easy to control, flexible, and cost-effective. In this blog post, we will explain what servo grippers are, how they work, and what benefits they can bring to your industrial automation. 


What are servo grippers?


Servo grippers are a type of electric gripper that use servo motors to control the position, speed, or force of the gripper jaws12. Servo motors are electric motors that can rotate or move to a specific angle or position with high precision and accuracy. They can also provide feedback to the robot controller about the jaw position, speed, or grip detection2. 

 Servo grippers can be programmed to adjust the gripping parameters according to the input command from the robot controller12. This allows them to handle different material tolerances and sizes of objects. For example, a servo gripper can grip a fragile glass bottle with a gentle force, or a heavy metal part with a strong force. Servo grippers do not require compressed air or hydraulic lines, which makes them cleaner and more energy-efficient than pneumatic or hydraulic grippers23. They also have less noise and vibration, which improves the working environment for the operators. 

Servo grippers can be integrated with collaborative robots (or cobots) to automate various processes in manufacturing, such as inspection, assembly, pick & place, and machine tending14. They can also work with different types of sensors and vision systems to enhance their performance and accuracy. Servo grippers are available in different designs and shapes, such as two-finger, three-finger, claw-like, or human-like15. Some servo grippers can also mimic the human hand movements, such as pinching, grasping, or twisting. 

 How do servo grippers work? 


The basic working principle of a servo gripper is as follows: 

 An input command is sent to the gripper from a robot control unit. This unit is usually pre-programmed by an operator via a teach pendant2. The command can be a position, a speed, or a force. 

The command from the robot is received by the gripper control module responsible for driving the gripper motor(s). This module is sometimes embedded in the gripper but most of the time it consists of a box sitting between the robot controller and the gripper2. The servo-electric motor reacts to the signal. The shaft will then rotate or move to the commanded position, speed, or force. To enable closed-loop control, feedback from the motor position is usually necessary at the gripper level2. Until there is a signal change, the servo will hold the position (and resist change). Some servo grippers can also send feedback to the robot controller about the jaw position, speed, or grip detection2. This enables more precise and adaptive gripping. 


What are the benefits of servo grippers?  


Servo grippers have many advantages over other types of grippers in robotics. Here are some of them: 

1. Easy to control: Servo grippers can be easily programmed and controlled via a simple interface integrated to the robot control or on its own control unit2. You can set up different gripping modes and parameters for different objects and tasks. 

2. Flexible: Servo grippers can handle various shapes and sizes of objects with high accuracy and repeatability. They can also adapt to different material properties and tolerances. You can use one servo gripper for multiple applications without changing tools. 

3. Cost-effective: Servo grippers do not need compressed air or hydraulic lines, which reduces installation and maintenance costs. They also consume less energy than pneumatic or hydraulic grippers. They have longer lifespans and lower failure rates than other types of grippers.

4. Cleaner: Servo grippers do not produce any emissions or leaks that can contaminate the environment or damage the products. They also reduce noise and vibration levels that can affect the operators’ health and safety.

5. Collaborative: Servo grippers can work safely and efficiently with cobots in shared spaces. They can also communicate with other devices and systems via sensors and vision systems. They can enhance the productivity and quality of your industrial automation. 


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