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ADHESO gripper technology – New fields of application in handling with bio-inspired adhesion mechanisms

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The gripper technology ADHESO from SCHUNK results from a closer look at nature: With the help of adhesive forces, geckos are moving head first over smooth surfaces for millions of years. Now, the competence leader for gripping systems and clamping technology systematically uses this principle for developing various fields of handling applications.

Thereby the advantages are clearly visible: Components can be gripped in a sensitive way, without leaving any residues and without requiring additional energy. The solutions are always individually developed and are as diverse as the applications themselves. Glass fibers as light as feathers, smallest SMD components or micro-mechanical parts can be handled, but also sensitive battery components, plastic films, paper and glass, as well as automotive or mechanical engineering components of a weight of 15 kg and more. Automated separation of breathable components is also feasible.

The bionic inspired gripper technology ADHESO is based on the principle of adhesion, using the intermolecularly acting Van der Waals forces for handling. The patented surface architecture is made of special polymers and is optimized by numerical simulation. The result is a structure of extremely finely structured legs, which adheres to the different materials and objects. The structure is gently pressed onto the workpiece during the gripping process, thus increasing the contact surface, and the Van der Waals forces can start acting on the workpiece. This effect can be reversed by applying a slight pressure/rotary movement so that the gripper can be loosened residue-free from the handling object. The alternative use of a wiper ensures that the object is gently put down.

Large variety of variants due to individual design
The respective adhesive forces and removal of ADHESO depend on the variation of material, topography, and miniaturization, and is customized to the different requirements of the relevant environment. Therefore, the adhesive structures can be adapted application-specific to the required size and the loading condition (horizontal/vertical), and can be designed transparent, translucent or opaque.

This is the big advantage: the high degree of individualization ensures that components with dimensions of a few hundred micrometers can be handled as reliably as those measuring several meters. Experienced application specialists of the SCHUNK team support the users during the design and planning phase. If desired, users can have their application tested under realistic conditions.

Gentle handling also in cleanrooms and vacuum environments
Effort and costs for installation and commissioning are minimal, since the adhesive technology is gentle to the components, low-noise, and doesn’t require compressed air, vacuum or current. Neither for gripping nor for maintaining the gripping force an external energy supply is necessary. In case of a power failure in the handling system, the holding forces of the gripper are reliably maintained.

SCHUNK ADHESO allows gripping times of < 100 ms: It can be used in conventional industrial environments, but also in cleanrooms and vacuum environments. In the field of micro handling, repetitive positioning accuracies of < 0.01 mm can be achieved with this technology and it can be also used in collaborative applications. The ADHESO gripper has a bayonet lock and therefore the grippers can be exchanged in just a few simple steps.

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