Robotics & Automation News

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OnRobot releases ‘world’s most powerful’ electric vacuum gripper for robot arms

OnRobot has released what it describes as the “world’s most powerful” electric vacuum gripper for robot arms. 

OnRobot says its new VGP20 electric vacuum gripper provides a powerful and versatile solution for challenging palletising scenarios including heavy, bulky and porous surfaces.

Large, unwieldy bags of dog food, non-airtight clothing or consumer goods packages, and bulky, porous cardboard boxes. These are just some examples of demanding packaging and palletising applications that OnRobot’s new VGP20 gripper can address.

VGP20 is the world’s most-powerful electric vacuum gripper. Compatible with all leading robot brands, the gripper can handle payloads of 20 kg (44.09 lbs), making it a great fit for a wide range of applications in industries from cosmetics and electronics to pharmaceuticals and food and beverage.

Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO at OnRobot, says: “Our customers asked for a cost-effective, easy-to-deploy vacuum gripper that can pick up bulky, heavy-duty payloads while being intelligent enough to handle a wide range of items, including those with irregular shapes and porous surfaces.

“The VGP20 combines power, intelligence and ease-of-use that competes with expensive, complex pneumatic grippers.”

End-of-line operations such as palletising are labour-intensive and costly. Researchers estimate that, on average, labour costs account for 65 percent of warehouse facility operating budgets, dwarfing the costs associated with utilities, taxes, distribution and rent combined.

On this basis alone, automation is a compelling proposition for companies of all sizes. According to researchers, adoption of automated palletising solutions in the food and beverage sector is estimated to have increased at an annual growth rate of more than 13 percent since 2017 and is set to reach $390 million by 2022.

90 percent cost savings compared to pneumatic grippers

OnRobot’s new VGP20 electric vacuum gripper can take on applications that have traditionally been handled by powerful pneumatic grippers–at a fraction of the cost and complexity.

While pneumatic grippers require compressed air to operate, the VGP20 is all-electric and ready to go out of the box, enabling companies to save up to 90 percent on operating and maintenance costs compared to traditional pneumatic gripper deployments.

The VGP20 provides unlimited cup and airflow customisation and multichannel functionality, allowing it to be deployed on multiple items of different shapes and sizes.

Additionally, the VGP20 gripper’s built-in intelligence, combined with its easy-to-use software, provides precise air flow control functionality that is beyond the capabilities of traditional pneumatic grippers.

This functionality allows users to vary the type of grip used in different applications, such as the soft grip used to handle delicate items to the hard grip required for handling bulky, heavy cardboard boxes with porous surfaces.

Enables use of less expensive packaging materials

The costs of cardboard for packaging has risen by nearly 40 percent from 2010-2020. And with continued strong growth of e-commerce demands, estimates of further increases lead shippers to look for lower-cost options for packaging materials.

Thinner, more porous cardboard and lightweight shipping bags present challenges for traditional automated packaging and palletising, however. The powerful, customisable OnRobot VGP20 easily handles these thinner and less expensive packaging materials, allowing shippers to save considerably on both automation and shipping costs.

OnRobot’s VGP20 gripper also provides an option to enable continuous monitoring of the gripper’s air flow. If this option is selected, and the vacuum is interrupted for any reason, the robot will come to an immediate halt and an alert pop-up window will be displayed in the gripper software.

Iversen says: “Efficient packaging and palletising performance is crucial to success for manufacturers, e-commerce and logistics companies. However, labour shortages present an ongoing challenge and performing these jobs by hand is both monotonous and unergonomic.

“The powerful and versatile VGP20 gripper enables companies to automate these tasks, providing relief to workers while improving overall productivity and quality.”

Growing adoption of robot grippers in Asia

The global robot grippers market is projected to deliver a CAGR of approximately 15 percent from 2021 to 2026 as automation adoption increases, especially in emerging markets.

Asia Pacific will see the highest growth due to rapid modernisation and industrialization, as well as increasing collaborative robot adoption and Industry 4.0 initiatives.

James Taylor, general manager, APAC at OnRobot, says: “With Covid-19, we are seeing more Industry 4.0 initiatives in the region. Governments are formulating policies to drive robotics and automation forward to strengthen domestic production.

“We are committed to helping manufacturers adopt automation quickly and easily with our wide range of smart and flexible solutions like the VGP20.”

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