Food items come in diverse range of shapes, sizes and textures, which makes it challenging for conventional robotics gripper to manipulate these items using just a single grasp posture. The high cost of redesigning and manufacturing various types of grippers for different food items is also a concern. This invention aims to resolve the limitations of currently available grippers by proposing a gripper with adjustable base which is able to produce different grasp postures.
TECHNOLOGY FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS
A robotics handler comprising: a base having a gripper system, the gripper system comprising one or more finger modules, each finger module has a finger actuation control system, whereby the finger actuation control system comprises of a pneumatic solenoid valve and a pneumatic pressure sensor, the finger actuation control system is covered by soft material sleeve, one or more finger components having programmable rigidity while maintaining great adaptability and flexibility for delicate object manipulation, each finger component comprising of an actuator and skeleton with one more ball joints, the ball joints having stiffness which is adjustable by varying pneumatic air pressure supplied to the balloon actuators in the joint and has a bending actuator to evaluate its gripping performance.
The grasping configuration can be adjusted based on the shape and size of food items, therefore making it a one-size-fits-all gripper for processing and packaging line in the food manufacturing industry. It allows the gripper to grasp large items (such as large biscuit box) and also, small items (such as a small piece of chocolate).
This invention solves two key problems:
i. Its variable grasping modes allows programmable grasping configurations to pick up items of various shapes and sizes. This feature is important for industries requiring delicate manipulation of irregular items, such as food packaging line, whereby various food items are assembled in a bento meal set. Individual customized mounting base is not required to handle particular item.
ii. Programmable rigidity of finger segments allows the gripper to manipulate items more effectively, allowing firmer grip for high-speed pick-and-place. As mentioned previously, certain degree of rigidity is required for the soft fingers to reach within a cluttered pile of items and effectively grasp targeted items.