In the manufacturing industry, automation is one of the ways employed in production processes to increase work efficiency; thus, reducing labor costs. For a robot system to be effective and flexible, it is essential to consider how robot manipulators work to improve their performance. One way to achieve flexibility is by using end effectors. The end effector is the end of a robot that holds on to the material. The†robot end effectors†has a fitting to connect with the robot arm and other separate devices for sensing and actuation. The end effector is the part of a robot that interfaces with the environment performs valuable work, and corresponds to the human hand.† †
The role of the end effector in a collaborative system†
For industrial robotics, safety is paramount and ensures employee safety while also protecting expensive machinery from damage. End effectors provide a specialized gripping interface that guides objects through an automated process. An end effector is often a component of the overall manipulator system on a robot.†
The functionality of the robotic system is determined by choice of end effectors. Typically, grippers or suction cups perform the same tasks as human hands or vacuum cups. Industrial robots often feature many mechanically and electrically actuated joints in their end effectors, allowing them to work close to humans and other machinery with minimal safety risk.
Types of robot end effectors
End effectors are specially designed to hold or manipulate objects by picking them up and moving them around. Robot end effectors are specialized tools attached to the end of a robot’s manipulator. They allow robots to perform tasks that they otherwise could not do and can pick up and manipulate objects ranging from simple objects like paperclips to complex objects like car engines.†
Robots are used in industrial settings to help with packaging, painting, welding, and more. They are also used in the medical field to deliver products, take out trash and assist in surgery. There are several different types of robot designs with different tasks. Robot end effectors are the part of the robot that performs the task. For example, the gripper is an example of an end effector and gives the robot extreme flexibility and precision to manipulate products.
Robot end effectors are increasing in such industries as automobile manufacturing, power electronics company, and machine tooling. Robot end effectors all have one thing in commonóthey must be appropriately attached to the robot arm for the robot to function correctly.
End-effectors can be classified into Grippers and force/torque sensors. Grippers help in picking up objects by closing the fingers around them. Force/torque sensors hold onto objects without physically touching them; they measure the forces applied to the object and display them as output signals.
Depending on your robot application, end effectors are further classified to include: the suction cup gripper, which uses the force of air pressure to seal onto an object. Vacuum end effectors use a chamber and piston to reduce the pressure of whatever is inside. Finally, magnetic end effectors use magnets to adhere objects to the gripper.
Application of robot end effectors
Robot end effectors are the parts of a robot that perform such functions as grasping and releasing objects, moving them around, and exerting forces upon them. These functions require a high degree of precision and control to be successful.†
End effectors perform different tasks; for example there are dedicated end effectors for specific tasks like welding. In addition, end effectors are often used alongside other types of mechanisms, including powered gripping jaws or parallel kinematic structures.
A robot may have one or more end effectors depending on its design. Popular end effectors include grippers, claws, tongs, scissors, and suction cups. The end effector is different from the primary structure of a robot.†
For example, an excavator robot has a large bucket scoop as its end effector and arm-like structures, which it uses to perform excavation as its main body. Most humanoid robots have a human-like hand as their end effector. Robot arms that mimic human arms have fingers and thumbs that serve as their end effectors.
Is your end effector the right one for you?
A robot end effector is an interface that allows a robot to interact with the environment physically by ensuring that the robot can interact with its surroundings. End effectors can be adjusted for a specific task, such as welding, painting, gripping, cutting, or stapling. The end effector is the part that comes in contact with the object. The purpose of an end effector is to provide force and torque to the object under construction.
The following are tips to consider before you invest in an end effector for your robot: One is to find the end effector that complements the size and weight of your robot. The right end effector will save battery power and keep your robot running and working longer.†
Finally, consider the mounting configuration, which is paramount because it will affect how quickly you can swap out the end effector.†
Other additional questions to ask include:†
- How much payload and what should it be?
- What kind of environment will the robot be working in?
- How many robots motion?
- How complex is the motion?
- How much workspace is available to the robot?
- What level of accuracy is required?
The use of end effectors to achieve robot flexibility has allowed people to automate tasks initially thought of by many as complicated for robots to execute. However, flexibility is crucial for a multi-purpose device to be effective and efficient.†
To satisfy the demand for flexible manufacturing and improve the quality of products, the robot components that make the body, tool holder, and arm need to be flexible. Here is where the end effectors come into the picture.
The end effector’s location is essential, and robot manufacturers offer options that include wrist-like devices, head-like devices, and articulated arm solutions. The level of accuracy is highly dependent on the robot’s repeatability and its precision in placing parts on assembly lines.