Packaging

The bionic gripper

Engineers have taken advantage of 3-D printing for rapid prototyping of tools and parts in recent years. Technicians at the German firm Festo AG & Co. are taking the technology to the next level to mass produce end-of-arm robotic attachments.

The Esslingen, Germany-based supplier of drives and other automation components refers to the tool as a “bionic handling gripper.” Instead of metal, the gripper is fabricated with a lightweight composite. Borrowing from the biomechanics of a fish fin, engineers applied a fin ray pattern to the three gripper fingers, giving them both strength and flexibility. The fingers adapt to the shape of the object being picked, an advantage when foods susceptible to damage are the target. According to Festo Spokesman Christopher Haug, the bionic gripper can handle a payload of up to 200 grams, or seven oz.

The first application involved a sortation machine for tulip bulbs built by the Dutch OEM Total Systems. (Haug suggests chocolate eggs and fruit susceptible to bruising are other likely applications.) A pneumatic actuator controls two flexible bands that join at the end to form a triangle, with stays connected by articulated joints, allowing the bands to flex when pressure is applied to the target object.

Festo’s 3-D printing process also is referred to as selective laser sintering. Layers of polyamide powder measuring 0.1mm in thickness are layered until the desired band thickness is achieved. 

 

For more information:

Christopher Haug, Festo AG & Co., 49 711 347-4032, haug@de.festo.com

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Kevin Higgins, Senior Editor

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

IPPE 2015

The 2015 International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) was held in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center, Jan. 27-29. More than 30,000 poultry, meat and feed industry representatives attended the event to interact with the 1,288 exhibitors on the show floor that covered more than 490,000 net square feet. At the show exhibitors demonstrated innovations in equipment, supplies and services utilized by firm in the production and processing of meat, poultry, eggs and feed products.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering March 2015 cover

2015 March

In this March 2015 issue of Food Engineering, we explore how a surprise FDA audit could be serious if you're not recording key data.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.