Gripper systems

Gripper systems are indispensable elements for industrial robots or handling systems because they represent the connection between the workpiece and the handling system. Grippers are pneumatically or electrically operated and are used to grip, hold, position and orient the workpiece or tool. Normally, gripper systems sit on the outermost or last axis of a handling system and are connected to the general power line.

Different effects of gripper systems

Gripper systems are subject to various effects. They function mechanically, pneumatically, electrically or adhesively.

Mechanical grippers resemble a human hand and have one or more fingers. These gripper systems can consist of several stiff articulated joints, but in general they can also be flexible and pliable. They are usually pneumatic, that is, operated by compressed air. A mechanical or electrical drive is also possible.

Pneumatic grippers involve vacuum cups or suction cups that draw in the workpiece in order to transport and machine it. In addition to vacuum technology, the workpieces to be processed can also be clamped and moved using the pressure principle. If pneumatic grippers cannot be used because, for example, the surface does not permit the generation of a vacuum, e.g. in the case of porous or holey structures, adhesive gripper systems usually provide a remedy.

When their gripping surfaces, which are equipped with tiny hairs, are pressed onto a workpiece, Van der Waals forces are generated that can be used to lift the workpiece in real time. If the adhesive gripper is tilted sideways slightly and in a controlled manner, the adhesion is released again. The advantage of adhesive grippers is that they require no electricity, making them extremely energy efficient.

Electric grippers with magnetic function attract and hold the workpiece magnetically. Two types of magnetic gripper systems are distinguished here: permanent magnet grippers and electromagnet grippers. With permanent magnet grippers, once the workpiece has been lifted by the magnet, it must be removed by another system. Electromagnetic grippers are switched on and off by electrical energy, which is why workpieces can be gripped and also set down again in an uncomplicated manner.

Mechanical grippers from Festo

Mechanical grippers from Festo are moved via an internal actuator and convert the drive motion into a gripping motion of the gripper jaws via a transmission ratio. This movement of the gripper jaws is referred to as stroke. Depending on the stroke and gripping force, workpieces of different sizes can be gripped and handled. Festo offers both pneumatic and electric grippers with long strokes.

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Parallel grippers

Festo offers mechanical parallel grippers in various designs. They are suitable for internal and external gripping. Parallel standard grippers are suitable for handling a wide variety of small parts in a clean environment. To absorb high forces, Festo offers robust gripper systems with loadable T-slot guidance of the gripper jaws. Tight grippers are suitable for handling in heavily soiled and demanding environments. The precise parallel gripper has a convincing backlash-free rolling bearing of the gripper jaws.

In our core range, you will find the three parallel grippers DHPC, DHPS, HGPL and HGPT in a wide range of sizes. DHPC and DHPS are distinguished by their high gripping force with low construction volume as well as maximum repetition accuracy, while HGPL is particularly suitable for use with large workpieces and long strokes. The HGPT parallel gripper is robust, powerful, and has with T-slot guidance just like the HGPL. In addition to our core range, you will find further parallel grippers for a wide range of requirements at Festo: From products that are ideal for gripping larger workpieces, to self-centering grippers as well as grippers for very harsh environments, to micro grippers in an extremely small and handy design.

Parallel grippers

Three-point grippers

Three-point grippers make it possible to retain a workpiece centrally. At Festo you will find three-point grippers in various designs. Standard three-point grippers are suitable for the universal handling of small parts in a clean environment. To absorb high forces, you will find robust three-finger gripper systems with loadable T-slot guidance for internal and external gripping. Tight three-point grippers are suitable for handling in heavily soiled and demanding environments.

Our DHDS three-point gripper ensures maximum repetition accuracy and has a high gripping force with a low construction volume. The Festo HGDD three-point gripper makes precise gripping with centric movements possible despite high moment loads and is particularly suitable for use in very harsh environments. In the HGDT three-point gripper, the gripper jaw guide is protected from dust by sealing air, which makes this gripper particularly durable. It is also available as a high-force variant and enables synchronous movement of the gripper jaws.

Three-point grippers

Angle grippers

Angle grippers from Festo are available standard as small parts grippers and micro grippers. The jaws of angle grippers open 20° per jaw. The opening angle can eliminate the need to approach an object from the side. The defined opening angle makes it possible to save cycle times and avoid interfering contours.

Our latest model, the DHWC angle gripper, can be used either as a double-acting or single-acting gripper. It also has a high torque load capacity due to the lateral supporting frame of the gripper jaws. The DHWS angle gripper with improved gripper jaw guidance has internal fixed throttling, making external throttling unnecessary in 80% of applications. The Festo HGWM angle gripper is characterized by its small and handy design. It is versatile due to externally adaptable gripper fingers.

Angled grippers

Radial grippers

Festo radial grippers are available in two variants. The standard radial gripper is available as a small parts gripper for clean ambient conditions. A robust version with a sealing air connection allows higher forces to be absorbed. The jaws of the radial gripper open up to 90° per jaw. The wide opening angle can eliminate the need to approach an object from the side.

The Festo radial grippers DHRC and DHRS enable a high torque load capacity due to the lateral supporting frame of the gripper jaws. The former can be used either as a double-acting or single-acting gripper, while the latter is more robust and has internal throttling. For the HGRT radial gripper, the robust and precise kinematics for highest torque absorption as well as the long service life are characteristic features.

Radial grippers

Swivel/gripper unit

The swivel/gripper unit, a compact functional combination of parallel gripper and swivel unit, also belongs to the group of mechanical gripper systems. Both functions can be controlled and moved individually and independently of each other. The swivel/gripper unit is available in three different sizes. The swivel angle is adjustable from 0° to 210° with a maximum gripping force of 192 newtons.

We can supply you with the HGDS swivel gripper unit, whose swivel angle can be infinitely adjusted and which guarantees a precise end stop with elastic cushioning or integrated shock absorber.

Swivel/gripper unit

Pneumatic grippers from Festo

In the field of pneumatic gripper systems, we offer safe and gentle internal grippers in the form of bellows grippers. Mechanically increasing the bellows diameter clamps the payload to the inner contour. Bellows grippers are suitable for gripping and transporting parts with circular openings, such as glasses, cups or bottles. Two different bellows materials are available: EPDM is suitable for higher loads, silicone for higher temperatures.

The Festo DHEB bellows gripper is available in 11 sizes for gripper diameters from 8 to 85 mm. The direction of movement of DHEB is up or down. The DHEF adaptive shape gripper is suitable for gripping parts with undefined positions and shapes as well as products with different geometries.

Bellows gripper

Accessories for gripper systems

Of course, you will find suitable accessories for your gripper systems at Festo, including various gripper jaws, solutions for stroke reduction, adapters for grippers, gripper jaw blanks and adaptive gripper fingers.

Accessories for pneumatic grippers