Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Schmalz presents new gripping and handling technologies at Hannover

At the Hannover Messe 2019, J. Schmalz GmbH is presenting innovations for vacuum generation, gripping and smart handling. The solutions represent an important step forward in terms of efficient energy use and automation.

As in the past, integration, digitisation and networking continue to be the main drivers for technological advancement.

Integrated Automation, Motion & Drives (IAMD) will present components and system solutions for the factory of the future at the Hannover Messe from April 1 to 5.

For Schmalz, the trade show is the ideal setting for introducing its new developments for vacuum automation and handling, including the new compact ejector family SCPM, which is exceptionally small yet remarkably powerful.

This ejector represents an additional vacuum component in Schmalz’s modular system. It consists of a main body that is available in three versions. Depending on the requirements, the user can choose between a Basic, Controlled or Intelligent version.

These versions offer various functions, for example to save compressed air or to monitor the process, as well as interfaces such as IO-Link and NFC (near field communication) for reading out and parametrising the devices. In addition, up to 16 ejectors can be blocked to one terminal with a single connection.

Another innovation in compact ejectors: Schmalz’s product range now includes a vacuum terminal that is the first smart field device to offer the option of an Ethernet interface instead of an IO-Link interface.

Due to the real-time capability of Industrial Ethernet standards such as EtherCat, EtherNet/IP and ProfiNet, the ejector is suitable for complex processes that require synchronously running systems.

The terminal is modular, allowing for separate vacuum circuits that are controlled independently for easy handling of different parts.

The compact terminal is equipped with eco nozzle technology, which provides a dramatically increased suction rate with minimum compressed air consumption and enables energy-efficient vacuum generation.

In addition to automation, collaboration is also an important market driver. Schmalz developed the new vacuum generator ECBPM especially for collaborative robots with lift capacities of less than four kilograms.

The little brother of the CobotPump ECBPi, the ECBPM generates the vacuum necessary for fully automatic handling of small parts as well as stationary handling tasks, and it is completely electric.

Another product designed for use with collaborative robots is the area gripper FXCB. It uses flexible foam as the gripping surface and can hold cardboard boxes or crates of up to eight kilograms.

The design of the FXCB thereby meets the safety requirements of ISO TS 15066 – a standard for cooperation between humans and collaborative industrial robots. The gripper is also equipped with the latest communication technology to allow for easy integration into automation environments.

In addition to the cobot gripper FXCB, the vacuum experts at Schmalz will be presenting further solutions for handling sensitive electronic components, glass or packaging or for use in the automotive industry.

Schmalz will also be presenting the smart rope balancer SRBC at the Hannover Messe. In the spirit of industry 4.0, the rope balancer makes manual lifting tasks smart and digital.

The collaborative handling system is suitable for tasks requiring both dynamic movement and precise depositing, for example in joining or assembly processes.

Loads of up to 80 kilograms can be moved safely and with little effort – and without the risk of the load overshooting. To avoid collisions with fixed obstacles, software can be used to define working spaces, pick-up and deposit points, and travel speeds.

The intelligent vacuum lifter evaluates process data and offers a diagnostic function to assist the user. Safety queries prevent collisions as well as lifting and dropping errors and increase work safety.