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Collaborative robot gripper wins 2017 Hermes Award

24 April, 2017

The German gripping systems specialist Schunk has won this year’s Hermes technology award at the Hannover Fair for an intelligent gripper for human-robot collaboration that can interact and communicate with human operators. It is the second time in three years that Schunk has won the prestigious award, which celebrates innovative technologies.

Schunk’s modular JL1 co-act gripper uses built-in sensors to track the proximity of humans and thus to create a safety “bubble”. By triggering evasive action, it avoids human-machine contacts. The module can grip, handle and assemble objects of any shape. Its jaws can measure gripping forces and have tactile sensors, making its operation adaptive and responsive. The built-in sensors include two cameras that allow the gripper to see its surroundings in 3D and to detect workpieces.

“The company’s award-winning solution supports human-robot collaboration, making it a vital part of the smart factory tool kit,” says Dr Jochen Köckler, a board member at the show’s organiser, Deutsche Messe. “It is therefore a perfect fit for Hannover Messe, which this year will once again play a key role in reflecting and driving the ongoing development of Industry 4.0.”

Award-winner: Schunk's JL1 co-act gripper

“Safe and barrier-free human-robot collaboration in Industry 4.0 manufacturing operations with small production runs, high component diversity and frequent retooling is only possible if every part of the manufacturing system is intelligent, right down to the end-effector level,” adds Dr Wolfgang Wahlster, CEO of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), who chaired the judging panel. “Schunk’s JL1 is a perfect example of a state-of-the-art, smart-end effector.”

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