CHUNK the competence leader for clamping technology and gripping systems introduced the world’s first standardized industrial gripper on the market. The «industrial hand,» has been the former designation, and has been the starting point for a fast development of gripping systems which still continues today.
At the beginning of the 1980s, Heinz-Dieter Schunk, the Managing Partner of SCHUNK GmbH & Co KG in Lauffen had a brilliant idea. Inspired by the just starting boom in the industrial robotics he noticed how bulky the individually developed gripping tools on the robots were. Due to the connected pneumatic lines, the modules sometimes had extreme interfering contours. For him it was clear: in order to make robots and other handling systems more successful, grippers are required, which are more compact, lighter, precise, and if possible more cost-efficient than any other solution which was available to date. In 1983, SCHUNK introduced the world’s first standardized industrial gripper on the market. It was comparably light and disposed of integrated air channels. Graduated sizes enabled the designers to achieve particularly efficient solutions. The «industrial hand» from SCHUNK has been the starting point for a thirty-year-story of success. SCHUNK grippers are known for precision, longevity and robustness. They are synonymous for process stability and efficiency in assembly and handling.
From a simple gripper to an intelligent high-tech module
SCHUNK continually sets new standards for grippers with their pioneering spirit. The patented multi-tooth guidance which SCHUNK introduced in 2000 is still considered today as a benchmark in gripping technology. Since it is used in modules such as the world’s well-known PGN-plus universal gripper, it is particularly compact, and is also fast and precise. A short time later in 2006, SCHUNK again performed pioneering work, and introduced a program for mobile gripping systems. In addition to mechatronic rotary units, and efficient lightweight arms, it comprises the industry-proven SCHUNK SDH dextrous hand, a sensitive three-finger hand, and is suitable for various gripping scenarios, and perfect for applications in the field of service robotics. The latest development of this business unit is a 5-finger hand. It is amazing how it resembles in size, shape, and mobility to its human model.
But SCHUNK also paved the way for new types of grippers in the field of industrial robotics. In 2008, the market leader for gripping systems combined three features lightweight design, mechatronics and modularity to its LEG electric long-stroke gripper. In 2011, the company presented a vast program of electrically actuated modules in the framework of their «Mechatronik3» initiative on the market: the electric EGP small parts gripper with the world’s most compact performance, the adaptable EGA long-stroke gripper, and the intelligent and sensitive WSG parallel gripper. The latest gripper generation indicates the direction of this trend. Modern high-tech components allow a unique measure of flexibility at handling processes. With one single module, manifold gripping scenarios can be implemented. The powerful and sensitive modules can handle various components one after the other, and without any set-up time. At every grip the finger position and gripping force are individually adjusted to the workpiece. The required sensor system, the control and regulation technology, as well as a web browser for communication with the higher-ranking system components are already integrated in the gripper. Via intuitively operable programming interfaces, the modules can be easily integrated, controlled and maintained, and no additional software has to be installed via internet.
The world’s largest standard program for gripping systems
When we compare the modern SCHUNK grippers with the industrial hand of 1983, the enormous development step in gripping technology of the past 30 years is obvious. Simple, mechanic components developed to intelligent, powerful, and highly efficient high-tech modules, which allow the users to implement flexible and closely integrated handling processes. Today, SCHUNK offers more than 10.000 components to the world’s largest standard program for gripping modules and a module program for gripping systems which is unique in its own way. It comprises grippers and rotary modules, linear axes, speedy Pick & Place units, mobile gripping systems, and compact robot accessories. Over the years, many intersections of the SCHUNK clamping technology program were formed, and the user benefits from considerable synergies from both business units when using the SCHUNK modules.
Milestones of the 30-years-history of SCHUNK grippers:
1983 SCHUNK Industrial hand – the first standardized industrial gripper
2000 PGN-plus – the first gripper with patented multi-tooth guidance
2006 SDH – industry-proven 3-finger hand for service robotics
2008 LEG – a symbiosis of lightweight design, modularity, and mechatronics
2010 MPG-plus – the miniature parallel gripper with the most compact performance
2011 EGP – the electrically actuated small parts gripper with the most compact performance
2012 5-finger hand – almost as talented as its human model
2013 CGH – the first standardized lightweight gripper with CFC housing