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Food-certified soft gripper can handle eggs and fruit

24 April, 2020

The Danish robotic end-effectors specialist OnRobot has developed a food-grade soft gripper capable of picking up delicate and irregularly-shaped objects in food, beverage, cosmetics and pharmaceutical applications, as well as in general manufacturing and packaging operations. The electrically-powered Soft Gripper can handle items such as eggs, fruit, bottles or oddly-shaped containers.

The gripper, which can be attached to most robots, uses three interchangeable moulded silicon cups in star and four-finger configurations to pick up almost any small object weighing less than 2.2kg, delicately and precisely. It complies with the FDA 21 CFR for non-fatty items and EC 1935/2004 and, unlike vacuum grippers, it needs no external air supply, cutting both cost and complexity.

OnRobot’s CEO, Enrico Krog Iversen believes that the gripper will challenge existing technologies for picking hard-to-grasp, delicate and odd-sized items. “Unlike proprietary solutions,” he adds, “the Soft Gripper offers seamless integration with most collaborative robots and light industrial robots.”

It does this using OnRobot’s One System Solution platform that provides a unified mechanical and electrical interface between robot arms and any of the company’s end-of-arm tools. The platform has been expanded recently to support robots from ABB and Hanwha.

OnRobt’s food-grade soft gripper provides flexible handling for challenging pick-and-place applications

While the Soft Gripper is ideal for food and beverage applications, it also provides flexible, delicate gripping for manufacturing and packaging applications. It can handle loads up to 2.2kg, depending on their shape, softness and friction.

The gripper can handle items ranging in size from 11–118mm, depending on the cup that it is using.

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