22 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

Flexible-finger gripper gets the thumbs-up

Festo has developed a hand-like flexible gripping system that uses opposable “thumbs” to adapt to a variety of objects. The MultiChoiceGripper, aimed at robotic and assembly tasks, combines two developments: adaptive fingers using Festo’s Fin Ray technology; and a mechanical linkage that changes the position of the fingers from “opposing” to “surrounding”.

Between two and six finger elements can be fitted to the gripper. The fingers can grip different shaped, or sensitive, objects, without needing extra sensors or controls. They are made of a food-compliant polyurethane, allowing them to be used in washdown environments in the food industry.

Festo product manager in the UK, Steve Sands, predicts widespread applications for the gripper. “Until now,” he points out, “gripping multiple parts has required either time-wasting tool-changing, weight-increasing multiple heads, or even multiple handling arms.”