An Italian Research Institute has developed a manipulation device that allows the gripping by vacuum of micro-components and integrates a novel, vacuum-assisted system to support their release.
The manipulation of millimeter and sub-millimeter components is very challenging due to the predominance of the superficial adhesion forces over the gravitational one causing the components to often stick to the gripper. This causes the crucial release phase to become uncertain, and unreliable.
The developed device allows the precise, reliable and safe manipulation of micro-parts of different shapes and materials while avoiding any considerable increase in weight or excessive complication of the system.
This new vacuum manipulation device (micro-gripper) uses the same actuating system (a vacuum pump) for grasping the parts and controlling an innovative mechanical system to assist the release. The mechanical system is inside the gripper body and can move between two main positions, one of which allows the grasping of the component by vacuum and the other forces and improves its release as soon as the pump is turned off.
The device is applicable in different fields e.g. electronics, micro-mechanics, packaging, telecommunication, automotive, medicine, biomedical devices, jewelry etc.
The micro-gripper conceived is effective, simple, low-cost, low-weight, easy to use, and to integrate inside a manipulation system. The device allows the precise, reliable and safe manipulation of micro-parts of different shapes and materials, while avoiding any considerable increase in weight or excessive complication of the system. It can be easily mounted on a robotic arm or integrated on a manual or tele-operated manipulation system.