Gripper with adjustable forces

AMF is expanding its programme for automating machine tools with an innovative new gripper

AMF presents a modular gripper with adjustable gripping forces. The new gripping system for machine tools has a shaft interface and is exchanged like a tool from the magazine.

Users thus achieve fully automatic workpiece change on a machine tool during the machining process. Gripper jaws for different geometries and workpiece weights enable broad use of the new development. With the gripper, the manufacturer promises longer machine run times and automatic processing, even in additional shifts.

"Our new grippers with adjustable gripping forces let users turn their machine tools into automatic machines that run without labour and with longer machine run times," promises Martin Tinger, Product Management Group Leader for Andreas Maier GmbH & Co. KG (AMF). With the new modular gripper, machining processes can be automated on the machine tool without need for a robot. The gripper has a Weldon shaft and so can be exchanged fully automatically like a tool from the machine tool's magazine. It can move workpieces of up to eight kilograms on the machine table and put them in place for machining.

Adjustable gripping forces for the first time

Different geometries can be gripped with three different grip inserts – finger, prism and universal. The prism-shaped grip inserts can be turned for even more flexibility. The gripper is actuated via the machine spindle either hydraulically with cooling lubrication or pneumatically by applied compressed air. The gripping forces of the jaws can be continuously set – from 250 to 1000 N in the hydraulic version and between 200 N and 700 N with pneumatic control. "This flexibility through continuous adjustment of the gripping forces is unique and protects thin-walled components, for example," Tinger emphasises.

In addition, the gripper has compensating play for the C-axis of plus-or-minus three degrees and for the Z-axis of five millimetres, permitting secure gripping of approximate geometries and positions as well. AMF offers the gripper with two different gripper carriers, which can grasp and transport workpieces of up to 70 mm.

Building block for automatic machine tool

The inserts are hardened and have a wear-free surface. On request, the manufacturer produces gripper inserts that are adapted to the workpieces. Blanks are also available, which customers can adapt individually for their application. With the new gripper, AMF is expanding its programme for automating machine tools, which already includes zero-point clamping technology, a collet chuck and a similarly interchangeable cleaning tool.