New areas of application for collaborative robotics

OnRobot, which recently emerged 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” and a technical upgrade of the existing “HEX” force-torque sensor product line based on OptoForce technology. These products are intended to open up new areas of application for collaborative robotics while making implementation even easier. In this fast-growing market segment, OnRobot has positioned itself from the ground up as the innovative provider for collaborative applications one-stop shopping.

The newly founded OnRobot presented three new products and a technical upgrade at this year’s automatica. “Collaborating robots have the potential to become the comprehensive standard in industrial automation,” says Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO of OnRobot. “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 with gecko and NASA technology

The “Gecko Gripper” (Photo credit: OnRobot)

The “Gecko Gripper”, for example, offers a completely new approach. The gripper was developed by the start-up Perception Robotics which merged into OnRobot. The inspiration for this model comes from nature and uses the same adhesive system for gripping as the feet of a gecko: millions of fine fibres adhere to the surface of the workpiece and generate strong van der Waals forces. For the “Gecko Gripper” technology, OnRobot licenses a concept originally developed by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and brought it to market maturity.

More sensitivity for demanding workpieces

The “Polyskin Tactile Gripper” (Photo credit: OnRobot)

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

Gripper for precise assembly

In addition to the already established “RG2” gripper, OnRobot is also launching a variation of the “RG2” 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 for sensors

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 easier and faster: Mounting is now up to 30 per cent faster, partly thanks to overload protection now integrated in the sensor, which no longer has to be removed and mounted separately when attaching to the robot arm. Furthermore, the weight of the sensor could be reduced by 20 per cent. A new, improved sealing ring also protects the ” HEX” products better against dust or water in the environment.