Why do you need manual exchange robot grippers for your automation? | Kitagawa

Why do you need manual exchange robot grippers for your automation?

Hamish and Sophia are back on our focus channel to showcase Kitagawa's quick change robot gripper systems. In our previous video, they presented the standard range of robot grippers we have available. These standard grippers are perfect for mass production systems where the workpiece rarely changes however what options exist on the market if you have high mix-low volume production runs?

Until now, a common solution has been to provide a robot with an automatic robot gripper exchange interface system. These systems are inevitably complex and expensive. In addition, these exchange interfaces add additional weight onto your robot arm reducing its capability and ultimately reducing the size or weight of the workpiece that the robot cell will be able to handle.

So, Kitagawa designed two simple manual quick change gripper systems that allow an operator to set up a robot gripper for a new workpiece in less than ten seconds. As there are still machine operators within most factories this robot gripper exchange will have minimal impact on their time and ensures the robot cell starts operating with a new workpiece with little downtime. Many automatic gripper exchange interfaces can also be slower than Kitagawa's manual quick change options. With the manual interface, the robot quick change gripper weight can be kept to a minimum, therefore maximizing the size of the workpiece for a particular robot cell.

Kitagawa has produced two different types of quick change gripper systems. The most versatile system is the quick plate change grippers. This allows the operator to exchange the faceplate (front) of the gripper within ten seconds using a C-spanner. The faceplates can either be two or three jaws, therefore, allowing round and irregular workpieces to be handled. An additional advantage is that the faceplate set-up (gripper fingers and top-tooling) occurs offline and therefore will not have any additional effect on production time.

However, if you know that you're always going to be handling a variety of round parts then Kitagawa can supply you with special sets of master base jaws for your standard NTS3 grippers. These base jaws allow you ultra-fast exchange of the top jaws and can also be set up to rotate 90 degrees, allowing you to grip four different diameter workpieces without having to change the top jaws at all as demonstrated by Sophia.

As the world appears to be heading more and more toward complete automation, Kitagawa believes although the human operator's role is becoming more complex there still exists the requirement for human operators to interact with their machines. If this interaction can be effective, time efficient, and with the major advantage of keeping your costs to a minimum then there is a place for Kitagawa's quick change gripper systems. Thus, ensuring you get the maximum potential out of your robot cell.