Collaborative robots bring new areas of application

OnRobot, a recent emergent from the three international companies On Robot, OptoForce and Perception Robotics, presented its first new products at automatica 2018: The Gecko Gripper, Polyskin Tactile Gripper, RG2-FT, as well as a technical upgrade of the existing HEX force-torque sensor product line based on OptoForce technology.

They are intended to open up new areas of application for collaborative robotics, and at the same tim, make implementation even easier. In this fast-growing market segment, OnRobot has thus positioned itself as the innovative provider for one-stop collaborative applications.

“Collaborating robots have the potential to become the comprehensive standard in industrial automation,” Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO of OnRobot, said. “We want to contribute and unleash this potential by taking the next step: To make collaborative applications even easier to implement and to carry them into completely new areas of application – that is the basic idea behind all our new products that we presented at automatica.”


Innovative gripping and NASA technology

The Gecko Gripper offers users a completely new approach. Developed by Perception Robotics, a start-up which merged into OnRobot, the inspiration came from nature and uses the same adhesive system for gripping as found on the foot of the gecko. Millions of fine fibres adhere to the surface of the workpiece and generate strong van der Waals forces. For this technology, OnRobot licensed a concept originally developed by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and brought it to market maturity.

This unique solution renders not only vacuum grippers, but also compressed air systems for handing large, flat objects unnecessary. Unlike vacuum grippers, the Gecko Gripper can also handle perforated or porous workpieces without any problems. Moreover, the gripper is compatible with Universal Robots and Kawasaki robotic arms.


More sensitivity

The Polyskin Tactile Gripper also comes from Perception Robotics, and specialises in sensitive gripping: Both fingers can be individually aligned and have integrated tactile sensors at the fingertips. The gripper can thus precisely measure the condition of the surface of workpieces and align its gripping processes accordingly. These properties make it certainly useful, especially when working with sensitive or irregular workpieces. Like the Gecko Gripper, the Polyskin Tactile Gripper is also compatible with Universal Robots and Kawasaki.


Precise assembly

In addition to the already established “RG2” gripper, OnRobot is also launching a variation of the same on the market: The “RG2-FT” has integrated force-torque sensors and a proximity sensor, which also accurately detects the condition of objects. The gripper detects the danger of objects slipping off even before it happens, making handling even safer – for workers as well as for the workpiece. This gripper model is particularly suitable for use in precision assembly and is compatible with lightweight robots from Universal Robots and KUKA.


Fast installation

The OnRobot product line for force-torque sensors based on OptoForce technology, HEX, however, is not a new product, but receives substantial technical upgrade. The innovations are primarily designed to make installation and handling of the sensors even easier and faster: Mounting is now up to 30 per cent faster, partly thanks to overload protection now integrated with the sensor, which no longer has to be removed and mounted separately when being attached to the robot arm.

Furthermore, the weight of the sensor has been reduced by 20 per cent. A new, improved sealing ring also protects the HEX products better against dust or water in the environment.