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‘Tiniest tool-changer’ and first cobot gripper join range

13 September, 2018

Just two months after the Danish firm OnRobot was formed by merging three robotics accessories businesses, it has acquired another company – Purple Robotics, which has developed the world’s first gripper specifically designed for collaborative robots (cobots), as well as “the world’s lightest and smallest robotics tool-changer”.

OnRobot was formed in June by merging robotics accessories companies from the US, Hungary and Denmark. Now it has added another Danish company, Purple Robotics, which was set up by former employees of Universal Robots, and developed the world’s first dual vacuum gripper within a year.

“It’s been really good fun to create a brand-new robotics company and to disrupt the market for vacuum grippers with our invention,” says Lasse Kieffer, Purple Robotics’ former CEO, who has now joined OnRobot’s r&d department. “It makes a lot of sense and creates significant synergy to join forces with OnRobot who have already created a strong, global sales organisation. This means that we can focus 100% on developing the world’s coolest robotics products.”

The dual vacuum gripper gives a robot arm two “hands”, allowing it to handle several items simultaneously and solve multiple tasks in one movement. It has a built-in electric pump, avoiding the need to deal with the hoses, compressed air and cables needed for conventional vacuum grippers.

The vacuum gripper takes less than 30 minutes to install and start using. It can lift up to 10kg and handle items of different sizes, weights, materials, and shapes, gently and efficiently.

Purple Robotics’ second innovation is a patented tool-changer that allows end-of-arm tools on collaborative robots to be changed within a few seconds. Weighing just 200g, the Quick Changer device has a low impact on a robot’s payload. Its compact size adds minimal distance from the tool centre point to the robot, minimising stress on robot joints.

OnRobot’s dual vacuum gripper – developed by its latest acquisition, Purple Robotics – gives a robot two “hands”, allowing it to handle several items simultaneously

The Quick Changer releases end-of-arm tools with just a click, and new tools are positioned automatically with a repeatability of ±0.02mm. The device can be used on any robot arm or other equipment with an ISO-9409-1 flange.

“You no longer need to use heavy and clumsy tool-changers with spiky handles and sharp plates sticking out,” says Kieffer. “Quick Changer enables humans and cobots to work closely together in a safe and reliable manner.”

“The height and weight of this tool-changer are the lowest I have ever seen,” says Henrik Christensen, product manager with a Danish distributor for OnRobot, Bila Robotics. “No matter what kind of tooling is installed on the robot, the Quick Changer does not get in the way. This is a product that should be sold with all robots.”

“We are now one step closer to our vision of offering ‘one-stop-shopping’ for buyers of robot accessories”, says OnRobot CEO, Enricro Krog Iversen. “Purple Robotics will definitely not be our last acquisition. We have our eye on a number of other, interesting companies around the world.”

OnRobot's Quick Changer is claimed to be the world's smallest and lightest robotics tool-changer

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