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MassRobotics chooses Festo as winner of its GM Gripper Challenge

MassRobotics has chosen Festo, a MassRobotics partner, in collaboration with Magswitch, is the winner of the 2020 GM Gripper Challenge.

Festo’s design concept was selected for its ability to handle a variety of parts, in addition to avoiding occluding a part when gripped.

Joseph Cyrek, Magswitch CEO, says: “The technology challenge hosted by MassRobotics provided an excellent platform for collaboration and rapid development of innovative solutions.”

Stephen Vidler, Festo global key account manager, automotive industry segment, adds: “This project was an opportunity to demonstrate with Magswitch how well our respective engineering teams combine their expertise in motion and gripping to solve a handling challenge found in many different applications.”

General Motors’ Global Innovation organization sponsored MassRobotics’ GM Gripper Challenge, which called for the development of a universal end effector capable of grasping and holding a variety of sheet metal components for precise robotic assembly.

The participants of the GM Gripper Challenge were empowered to develop their own IP around the project and release it to a broader market. MassRobotics has been linking innovation and leading industry partners since 2015, enabling the discovery of strategic solutions for difficult-to-solve production problems.

Robert Tiderington, senior manager, GM Global Innovation, says: “At GM, we not only focus on innovating new business solutions ourselves, but also working with others to develop new ideas and solutions.

“We look forward to further exploring Festo’s concept, which we believe may assist in our manufacturing operations.”

Despite manufacturing, prototyping and office occupancy restrictions due to Covid, in the span of five months MassRobotics held a virtual kick-off event, teams submitted their entries and worked rapidly to develop a prototype gripper that fit GM’s specifications. A variety of teams entered from large organizations, research institutions and small startups.

Fady Saad, co-founder and VP of strategic partnerships, MassRobotics, says: “The GM Gripper Challenge demonstrated the foundation of our unique partnership model.

“We’re able to connect robotic ecosystem stakeholders to establish market pull and accelerate the commercialization of robotics technologies. This challenge was a huge success for participants, especially in such a challenging year.”

MassRobotics’ thriving community and extended network of robotics companies simplified the rapid coordination of a wide range of solutions offered by an international scope of candidates.

Events and challenges such as Robotics in Manufacturing and the GM Gripper Challenge highlight the necessary connection between large manufacturing companies and solutions created by innovative robotics startups.

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