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Video: 3D-printed Gripper Reports When The Gripping Pressure Is Too High
2023 Author: Hannah Pearcy | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 11:12
The next generation of modern industrial grippers thinks for themselves and is manufactured precisely according to customer requirements. Sensors measure pressure and temperature and report when, for example, the gripping pressure is too high. These sensors are already integrated in 3D printing during the production of the grippers. These intelligent grippers were developed at the Fraunhofer IWU
Dr. Ines Dani, head of department for function integration and lightweight construction at Fraunhofer IWU
The advantages of additive manufacturing are known at Fraunhofer IWU and are also used:
- individual adaptation to use in the production plant
- complex geometries
- Weight loss
- bionic design
“What is new is that we can use pressure sensors to measure pressure or temperature during the gripping process. Imagine your factory will contact you if the gripping pressure is too high and you could adapt it flexibly. This means less material is worn out,”explains Dr. Dani.
The team around Dr. Dani uses the process of additive manufacturing through selective laser beam melting (short: LBM). It is used for the tool-free production of metallic components with special geometrical features that cannot be produced with classic manufacturing technologies.
What is selective laser beam melting?
In selective laser melting, the material to be processed is applied in powder form in a thin layer on a base plate. The powdery material is completely remelted locally by means of laser radiation and forms a solid material layer after solidification. The base plate is then lowered by the amount of a layer thickness and powder is applied again. This cycle is repeated until all layers have melted. The finished component is cleaned of excess powder, processed as required or used immediately.
“You have to imagine it like in a 3D printer. We lay thin layers of aluminum or stainless steel powder on top of one another and use a laser to solidify the areas that we need for the desired shape,”explains Dr. Dani. “During this process, we use a small robot to use the sensors with pinpoint accuracy and high stability where they are supposed to measure later. We call this in-situ integration. In this way, the assembly is less complex."
When is it worth using 3D printing?
Advantages of intelligent grippers
Intelligent grippers have the potential to speed up production. If they are pressure sensitive, they enable faster and more direct access to parts of a workpiece that were previously not suitable for gripping. In addition, a gripper can be used at different locations on a workpiece. This saves space in the production plant.
Increases in quality are also possible, since thinner components can now be gripped than before, and at the same time their condition can be determined in more detail using temperature measurement. In the case of heat-sensitive components, the pressure strength on the gripper can be determined depending on the measured temperature. Special measuring systems for determining the temperature of a component can be omitted.
The production safety in a factory can be increased efficiently through intelligent gripper. The gripper not only reports when the gripping pressure is too high, but also when it is too small and the component to be transported is therefore not securely gripped. In this case, an intelligent gripper automatically adjusts and prevents components from falling.
The 3D printing seminar in direct digital production conveys the technology, suitability and requirements of 3D printing and gives the participants an overview of the developments, possibilities and limits.