Handling solutions

Festo has introduced a series of pneumatic handling modules that combine a swivel drive with a parallel gripper in a single unit.

The new HGDS swivel/gripper modules provide machine and automation builders with a dual-functionality actuator for pick-and-place type applications.

To facilitate application matching, Festo offers a choice of three HGDS swivel/gripper modules, with different torques, gripper forces and gripper stroke lengths.

The smallest module can generate up to 0.85Nm torque, up to 30N gripping force, and has a gripper stroke length of 5mm. The largest module in the series has commensurate ratings of 2.5Nm torque, 85N gripping force and a 14mm gripper stroke.

This combination of high rotational and gripping forces enables HGDS modules to provide cycle times of 0.5 seconds, suiting them to high-throughput automation applications. Typically, these include picking components from bowl or linear feeders and re-orientating them on assembly pallets, presenting components to automated inspection cameras and picking components from in-feed conveyors, rotating them and placing them for assembly.

All three HGDS swivel/gripper modules employ the same pneumatic technology. The gripper unit – which can operate at up to 4Hz – is powered by a piston-driven rod, moving at 90 degrees to the gripper jaws. The rod’s linear motion is transferred to the gripper jaws via a pair of backlash-free reversing levers. An advantage of this approach is that it allows the gripper actuator to be mounted in-line with the swivel drive – minimising the overall dimensions of the module and enabling it to be used in applications where the work space envelope is extremely limited.

The swivel drive unit uses the rotary vane principle and is equipped with flexible buffers to cushion its rotary motion.

All three HGDS modules accommodate a large swivel angle of up to 210 degrees, which can be adjusted to any desired value. Modules equipped with flexible cushioning buffers offer a swivel angle repetition accuracy of 0.2 degrees, while the hydraulic shock absorber versions improve on this still further, offering an accuracy of just 0.02 degrees.

Both the swivel and gripper actuators feature built-in magnets for position sensing, together with pre-drilled slots for adjustable non-contact proximity sensors, to simplify implementation of closed-loop control schemes.

Festo HGDS swivel/gripper modules can operate from lubricated or unlubricated filtered compressed air, accommodate a wide range of supply pressures from 3 to 8 bar, and use quick-connect push-in fittings for the air supply tubing.

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