Injection Molding: Order Custom Robot Grippers via Online Design Tool & 3D Printing

Design and order custom robot grippers to fit your molded part.

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Schunk, Morrisville, N.C., has introduced a web-based 3D design tool for ordering customized robot grippers shaped exactly to match a particular part. The new eGrip tool uses part data uploaded by the customer as a STEP or STL file to automatically determine the optimal 3D contour of individual gripper fingers. eGrip works in a 3D environment and allows the user to orient the part, choose the gripper model, and specify the finger material during the design process. Available materials are nylon 12, aluminum, and stainless steel. Once the design is complete, the fingers are made by additive manufacturing (3D printing) and delivered in a matter of days rather than weeks.

Additive manufacturing allows metal gripper fingers to be made with a hollow or grid structure, which is standard. This provides weight savings of 10% to 50% compared with conventionally manufactured gripper fingers.

Schunk notes that eGrip works with its PGN-plus, MPG-plus, and EGP models of grippers, all of which can be used in plastics processing. eGrip is said to be applicable to grippers for any type of robot, including Cartesian (linear) and six-axis articulated-arm types.

The new eGrip process allows users to order stored finger designs at a later date, and users can even manufacture the finger themselves by downloading, free of charge, the external  contour of the electronically generated modules—gripper, top jaws, and part/workpiece.