Collaborative robots are a type of force limited robots that have the ability to work side by side with humans. Universal robot is the most common brand of collaborative robots even though there are others being introduced into the market.
With collaborative robots controlling a big share of the robotics industry, most people do not understand why they are replacing the usual industrial robots.
The grippers in these robots are what mostly make the difference between them. The grippers are dependent on the application and also the robot in use. Here are the differences between the grippers in the two types of robots.
Main gripper specifications include speed, payload, and repeatability. For any robot to work, these specifications must match the robot.
It is possible to teach a collaborative robot through demonstrations. This makes it an easy robot to program as opposed to using traditional methods such as offline programming or the use of the teach pendant method.
Depending on the type of application the robot is used for, it can be safe for the robots to work side by side with human workers. This is where the use of collaborative robots is applied. For the traditional industrial robot, there is need to separate the space the robot works in from the space human workers operate in. the best grippers, in this case, will not compromise on the workers’ safety.
Because collaborative robots or cobots perform standalone applications that are simple and may change frequently, a flexible gripper is most ideal. On the other hand, traditional industrial robots are programmed to perform specific applications with no room for change. The gripper, in this case, needs to be fully optimized to perform the functions the robot is specifically meant for.
Specifications for grippers
For safety purposes, a collaborative robot’s payload is limited. Therefore there is a need for the best grip that is lightweight. This way you will have a good grip on weight ratio. For traditional robots, weight is not much of an issue. What operators simple ensure is that they make use of a large robot to ensure it has the ability to perform the application without being held back by weight factors.
Speed in robots is mostly just about cycle times. For collaborative robots, speed is an important aspect but should be managed to ensure it does not pose potential harm to the humans sharing the same workplace. For industrial robots, high speed can be used to increase productivity without causing hard since the robot is mostly caged in its own workspace.
This is a critical aspect when it comes to robots. If a robot’s repeatability is below limit, gripper repeatability can be added to increase the limit. However, there is no standard measure for gripper repeatability.
This factor is more stringent in industrial robots than it is in collaborative robots. It is important for grippers to be able to withstand the impact payloads have on robots. For example, if you have a 100kg payload robot, you will need grippers that are bulky and also a collision detector. For collaborative robots, payloads are usually low and also have force and speed limitations. For this reason, there is low risk for gripper damage or impact. Even so, you still need a gripper that is reliable to avoid downtime spent repairing grippers.
Collaborative robots usually perform simple picking and placing applications. For this reason, the grippers need to have the ability to pick an array of parts. Therefore, the grip force, stroke and form factor need to align with the task at hand. The most common issue a gripper faces is the ability to reach a part. Collaborative robots work alongside humans and this is a factor that needs to be considered when looking for the right application for your robots.
In many ways, collaborative robots are flexible when it comes to grippers as compared to industrial robots. Even so, they are affected by different challenges. Collaborative robots need grippers that are flexible, safe and easy to program.