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Assignment question for II unit:


Explain various drive methods used for robotic gripper system?

Define end effectors. Illustrate ( with sketches) various types of end effctors.
Explain briefly gripper design considerations.
Explain fundamental rotation matrices in detail.
What do you mean by transforms. Explain inverting homogeneous transforms.
Write short note on following:
a. Mechanical gripper
b. Magnetic gripper
c. Vacuum gripper
d. Adhesive gripper

End effectors and classification

End effector is the device at the end of a robotic arm, designed to interact with the environment.
It is the last link (or end) of the robot. At this endpoint the tools are attached. End effectors may
consist of a gripper or a tool. In general, end effectors may be classified as:
1. Impactive jaws or claws which physically grasp by direct impact upon the object.
2. Ingressive pins, needles or hackles which physically penetrate the surface of the object
(used in textile, carbon and glass fibre handling).
3. Astrictive suction forces applied to the objects surface (whether by vacuum, magnetoor electroadhesion).
4. Contigutive requiring direct contact for adhesion to take place (such as glue, surface
tension or freezing).

Fig. Some fingered grippers for holding different types of jobs

Robotic drives/actuators for grippers

A motor together with the transmission and other accessories if any, is referred to as an actuator.
However, in many instances, they are used interchangeably to mean that they move a robot link.
Actuators are like muscles of robots. An actuator should have following characteristics:

Low inertia
High power to weight ratio
Capacity to develop high accelerations
Wide velocity ranges
High positioning accuracy
Good trajectory tracking

Following drive systems are commonly used in industry:

1. Electric drive: electric actuators are generally referred to as being those where an electric
motor drives the robot links through some mechanical transmission e.g. gears etc. Earlier
hydraulic drives were the most common drive systems used but now with the improvement in
electric motors, new robots are all of electric construction. In electric drive system, there are two
kinds of actuator systems: dc motors, ac motors and stepper motors. In general each motor
requires appropriate reduction gear system to provide proper output force or torque. In the
electric system, a servo power amplifier is also needed to provide a complete actuation system.

Widespread availability of power supply

The basic drive elment in an electric motor is lighter than that for fluid power.
High power conversion efficiency
No pollution of working environment
Accuracy and repeatability of electric drive systems is better than hydraulic and

pneumatic drive system

They can be easily maintained and repaired
Drive system id well suited for electronic control


Electrically driven robots always require some sort of mechanical transmission system.

This adds weight to the robot.

Electric motors are not intrinsically safe. They therefore cannot be used in explosive

2. Pneumatic drive: they utilize pneumatic energy provided by a compressor and transform it
into mechanical energy by means of turbines and pistons. These actuators utilize compressed air
for actuation and are widely used for typical opening and closing of the jaws in the gripper of a

robot. They are also used for actuation of simple robot arm where continous motion control is not
a concern.

It is the cheapest of all other methods, which is the main reason for it being used in most

of the industrial robots.

It has low degree of stiffness so can be conveyed over long distances.
Compressed air is clean, explosion proof, and insensitive to temperature fluctuations.
They have very few moving parts thus less maintenance.
They have very quick action and response time.
Control is simple e.g. mechanical stops are often used.
Individual components can be easily interconnected.


Since air is compressible, precise control of speed and position is not obtainable unless

complex electromechanical devices are not incorporated.

If mechanical stops are used, resetting the system can be slow.
Pneumatics are not suitable for heavy loads under precise control.
If moisture penetrates the units, it damages ferrous components.

3. Hydraulic drives: Hydraulic actuators use high pressure fluid such as oil to transmit forces to
the point of application desired. A hydraulic actuator is very similar in appearance to that of a
pneumatic drive. generally used in robots gripping systems are usually electro-hydraulic drive
systems. They have almost the same configuration as pneumatic systems, though their features
are different from each other. A typical hydraulic drive system consists of actuators, control
valves and power units. To achieve positional control, electrical signals using electro-hydraulic
conversion drives are used .

High efficiency and high power to size ratio.

Complete and accurate control over the speed, position and direction of actuators is

They have greater load carrying capacity than electric and pneumatic actuators.
No mechanical linkage is required.
Self lubricating and non corrosive.
Hydraulic robots are more capable of withstanding shock loads than electric robots.


Leakages can occur causing loss in performance and general contamination of work area.

There is also a higher fire risk.

The power pack is noisy, typically above 70 decibel. (normal for human is 40 decibel)
Changes in temperature alter the viscosity of the hydraulic fluid which in turn make the

system sluggish.
For smaller robots, hydraulic power is not feasible.
Servo control of hydraulic system is complex.

Type of robot grippers

One of the most important areas in the design of robot systems is the design of end effectors.
Most of the problems that occur in production are caused by badly designed tooling and not by
faults in the robots. There are many different types of gripper available along with the vast
number of specialist tools for nut running, arc welding, paint spraying etc.
1. Mechanical Grippers
The most commonly used grippers are finger grippers. These will generally have two opposing
fingers or three fingers like a lathe chuck. The fingers are driven together such that once gripped
any part is centered in the gripper. This gives some flexibility to the location of components at
the pick-up point.
In a mechanical gripper, the holding of an object can be done by two different methods such as:

Using the finger pads as like the shape of the work part.
Using soft material finger pads.

In the first method, the contact surfaces of the fingers are designed according to the work part for
achieving the estimated shape. It will help the fingers to hold the work part to some extent.
In the second method, the fingers must be capable of supplying sufficient force to hold the work
part. To avoid scratches on the work part, soft type pads are fabricated on the fingers. As a result,
the contact surface of the finger and co efficient of friction are improved.

Can be designed to suit almost any application

Deals well with harsh environment with ferrous and non ferrous materials both.
For different products different grippers/tools are required.

Usually the most expensive option
There is a balance required for gripping force and damaging/marking the product.
2. Magnetic gripper:

Magnetic grippers are most commonly used in a robot as an end effector for grasping the ferrous
materials. The magnetic grippers can be classified into two common types, namely: Magnetic
grippers with


Permanent magnets

Electromagnetic grippers include a controller unit and a DC power for handling the materials.
This type of grippers is easy to control, and very effective in releasing the part at the end of the
operation than the permanent magnets. If the work part gripped is to be released, the polarity
level is minimized by the controller unit before the electromagnet is turned off. This process will
certainly help in removing the magnetism on the work parts. As a result, a best way of releasing
the materials is possible in this gripper.
Permanent magnets:
The permanent magnets do not require any sort of external power as like the electromagnets for
handling the materials. After this gripper grasps a work part, an additional device called as
stripper push off pin will be required to separate the work part from the magnet. This device is
incorporated at the sides of the gripper. The advantage of this permanent magnet gripper is that it
can be used in hazardous applications like explosion-proof apparatus because of no electrical
circuit. Moreover, there is no possibility of spark production as well.

This gripper only requires one surface to grasp the materials.

The grasping of materials is done very quickly.

It does not require separate designs for handling different size of materials.

It is capable of grasping materials with holes, which is unfeasible in the vacuum grippers.


The gripped work part has the chance of slipping out when it is moving quickly.

Sometimes oil in the surface can reduce the strength of the gripper.

The machining chips may stick to the gripper during unloading.

3. Vacuum grippers
Vacuum grippers are used in the robots for grasping the non ferrous objects. It uses vacuum
cups as the gripping device, which is also commonly known as suction cups. This type of
grippers will provide good handling if the objects are smooth, flat, and clean. It has only one
surface for gripping the objects. Most importantly, it is not best suitable for handling the objects
with holes.
Vacuum cups:
Generally, the vacuum cups (suction cups) will be in the round shape. These cups will be
developed by means of rubber or other elastic materials. Sometimes, it is also made of soft
plastics. Moreover, the vacuum cups are prepared of hard materials for handling the soft material
Two different devices are used in the suction cups for creating the vacuum. They are:


Vacuum pump

Venturi device is operated with the help of shop air pressure, while the vacuum pump is driven
either by means of vane or piston device. The vacuum pump has the ability to create the high
vacuum. As the venturi is a simple device, it is more reliable and inexpensive. Both these devices
are very well capable of providing high vacuum if there is a sufficient supply of air pressure.

Types of vacuum grippers: The ball joint type vacuum gripper is capable of changing into
various contact angles automatically. Moreover, the bending moments in the vacuum cups are
also decreased. It is used for carrying irregular materials, heavy objects, etc.

A vacuum gripper with level compensator can be very helpful in balancing the objects
with different levels. It also has the capability to absorb the shocks.

Applications of vacuum grippers:

Vacuum grippers are highly useful in the heavy industries, automobiles, compact disc
manufacturing, and more for material handling purposes.

It is also used in the tray & box manufacturing, labeling, sealing, bottling, and so on for
packaging purposes.


Their cost is less

Pick up many types of products with single gripper
Deals well with inaccurate positioning



Sensitive to some environments such as dusty and dirty conditions

Requires either vacuum pump or compressor which adds to the energy cost
Surface texture/porosity will effect performance
Adhesive grippers:

In this gripper, the adhesive body is used to grasp the fabric objects. It is also very much suitable
for carrying the light-weight materials. As like magnetic and vacuum grippers, it uses only one
surface for gripping the objects.
One disadvantage in this gripper design is that it will lose its strong adhesive substances when it
is used continuously. As a result, the consistency of the gripper is reduced and leads to the
improper grasping of objects. This disadvantage can be solved by constantly applying the
adhesive substances on the gripper. It can be done by using a continuous ribbon connected to a
feeding system, which is placed in the robot wrist. This process looks very much related to the
operation of a typewriter ribbon system.

5. Scoops:
Scoop is used as an end effector for grasping the material in the form of powder or liquid. It
handles some objects like molten metal, food, chemicals, and granular. There are two problems
in this gripper such as:

The control of the material is very difficult.

It may also spill out the materials, while performing the process.

6. Hooks:
A hook gripper is incorporated in an operation for picking up the containers of parts. A hook that
grips an object will require a handle for permitting the gripper to grasp it. Moreover, this type of
grippers can be used in the part loading and unloading process in which the work parts hang
from the overhead conveyors.
7. Inflatable bladder type gripper:
The inflatable bladder type gripper is made of rubber or some sort of elastic materials. It can be
used to pick up the fragile objects by expanding the inflatable bladder. The mechanical gripper
applies concentrated power for grasping a material, while this type gripper applies a constant
handling pressure in opposition to the object surface.

Gripper Design Considerations

When selecting a gripper there are a number of factors that may need consideration.
1. Gripping force
When considering the gripping force required a number of factors must be considered. Not
only must the mass of the object to be gripped be taken into account but also the
accelerations imposed on it by the robot. Where accelerations are not known a figure of 2.5g
is generally assumed. The coefficient of friction between the gripper and the object may also
be an important factor. This can often be increased by using one of the special rubber based
materials that have been developed. The use of these materials can create maintenance issues
however as they have a finite life.

One other way of reducing the gripping force required is to use fingers designed for the form
of the component. This reduces the flexibility of the gripper but dramatically increases the
weight carrying capacity.
2. Weight
Industrial robots have fixed lifting capabilities and the combined weight of the gripper and
gripped component may be important. Even where this weight is within the capability of the
robot it may cause an unacceptable increase in the cycle time of the operation. The distance
between the robot flange and the centre of mass may also be important and this should be
kept to a minimum.
3. Supply of services
With robot end effectors loose cable or hoses are something to be avoided. They increase the
size of the tool (making it harder to reach into confined spaces) and cause many failures due
to rubbing or snagging on other parts of the mechanism. It is therefore preferable to route all
services or signal connections through the robot arm and then internally through the tool.
4. Enviromental capabilities
End effectors are often required to work in hostile enviroments. High temperatures, dust or
the presence of chemicals will require special materials or designs to be used.
5. Sensor capabilities
For certain applications some degree of sensory feedback from the gripper is necessary. This
may be measurement of insertion or gripping forces or may simply be a proximity sensor to
say if anything is between the jaws of the gripper. Some standard grippers are provided with
feedback to show the seperation of the jaws but most grippers have no feedback.
6. Others
Other factors to be considered include the speed of the gripper jaws and the range of sizes of
component they can grip. The amount of maintenance required is also important though most
modern mechanisms require little or no maintenance. For some situations the behaviour of
the gripper on power failure may be critical. Some but not all use either springs to apply the
gripping force or non return valves to ensure that pressure is maintained.

The Future of Education Is Founded on AI, 3D Printing and NewSpace Tech

There are currently over 100 million students waiting to become the next generation of
engineers, rocket scientists and astrophysicists to get humans from Earth to Mars and beyond,
but they may not be able to fulfill their potential simply due to a lack of access to a quality
education. According to a study from UNESCO, more than 100 million young people worldwide,
62 to 66 million of whom are girls, are not attending school of any kind. Hundreds of millions
more are unable to afford good-quality or safe schools.
However, groups like OneWeb and ONE are aiming to provide universal Internet access
worldwide by 2020, greatly expanding the ability to use educational resources online.
Nevertheless, Internet access does not guarantee a quality education.
To address this problem, imagine if there was a massive, free online academy where any student
or teacher with broadband could learn science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM)
from educators around the globe, as well as the greatest minds in their fields, including NASA
scientists, cutting-edge researchers and NewSpace engineers? On top of that, what if they had an
artificially intelligent tutor and mentor to guide them in their learning?
That's what Enterprise In Space (EIS) is trying to achieve, and it all begins with one giant class
science project: the design, launch and recovery of a 3D-printed spacecraft that will orbit Earth
with 100+ active and passive student experiments and a link to an AI to help the students run
them and analyze their data.
To pull it off, EIS, a nonprofit program of the National Space Society, has drawn up the plans,
put together an expert team of space veterans, raised $27.5 million in in-kind donations and
partnered with some of the biggest names in the NewSpace industry. Now, all it needs is $32
million to put the plan in motion and set a course for the stars.

NewSpace Education
To engage students in STEAM education and space exploration, EIS is hosting contests and
enlisting students from all grade levelskindergarten all the way through postgraduate education
to design experiments to be flown aboard a 3D-printed orbiter dubbed the NSS Enterprise.
From now until the spacecraft is launched in 2019 or 2020, the winning experiments will be used
as the basis for online curricula and lesson plans to populate EIS massive open online course
platform, known as the EIS Academy.
Once launched, the NSS Enterprise will orbit our planet for up to one month,
carrying not only the experiments, but also Ali, an advanced artificial intelligence
that will manage the active experiments. Ali will also serve as the voice of the
spacecraft, allowing student teams on Earth to engage with the AI platform using
natural language. In fact, Ali will eventually act as a personal tutor to students from
around the world.

The EIS Academy will be overseen by EIS Education Manager Lynne F. Zielinski, one of the
most decorated space educators in the world, who has mentored students to fly experiments in
space for

the past 26 years. In speaking with ENGINEERING.com, Zielinski said that the
program will not only give students the tools to become engineers, but EIS will train
teachers as well. The whole wrap around here is two-fold: engineering the over 100
student experiments to be sent into space and to tap into the processes necessary
to create STEAM learners, Zielinski explained. To do that, teachers need training
so they can excite the students. A lot of teachers are not necessarily science,
technology, engineering or math teachers, and these teachers tend to feel

intimidated or shy away from teaching in these disciplines, like art, history or
elementary school teachers. They really dont have an engineering background, so
two of the things we want to do is show them that what they teach relates to the
technical fields and give them some of the basic engineering knowledge needed to
help their students design experiments to fly in space. In short, we want to give
them confidence!

She continued, When we show them how easy it isand it really is very easy if our engineering
is done rightthey feel confident enough to teach their students how to design their
experiments. That's the key and one of the things that makes us so different from other programs.
When they're concentrating on STEM and not STEAM, they're only focusing on things that are
scientifically significant or interesting. We're not. We're saying it can be very, very simple. It can
include some artwork, some music, anything. We encourage people to be bold and step out of the
perceived norm and their comfort zone.

Higher Level Education

The EIS Academy will serve not only elementary, middle and high school learners,
but also university, doctorate and postdoctoral students as well. EIS will host
competitions seeking experiments dedicated to advancing the state of the art in 10
areas. The contest teams will utilize and submit proposals within the Enterprise
Centers for Excellence (ECE), where expert researchers and cutting-edge businesses
will curate an extensive database of knowledge related to exciting topics such as
space-based additive manufacturing, space-based solar power, stem cell research
and more.

Zielinski explained that the additive manufacturing, space solar power and orbital space debris
mitigation and remediation ECEs are already well developed. Two competitions are nearly ready
to launch and will see students at the university and postdoc level participating with established
NewSpace businesses to pursue some very challenging scientific concepts.
In the case of the space solar power ECE, hosted in partnership with Ohio
University, SPACE Canada and the Canadian Space Society, the winning team will
actually send an experiment aboard the NSS Enterprise that will test the ability to
generate solar power in space, such as collecting sunlight aboard the spacecraft
and delivering power wirelessly to a freeflyer for its mission orbiting Earth.