Get a Grip on Your Product: Robotic End of Arm Tools

Written By: Steven Hogg

Robotic End of Arm Tool (EoAT) or end effector design can often define the success of a robotic system. Although it seems like only a small portion of the project, in reality it will drive the performance of the robot. Robotic EoAT design can range from a very simple vacuum cup to a very complex array of technologies used to support the product on multiple sides. As the complexity of the EoAT increases, the design considerations and specifications will be magnified. It is paramount for the success of the project that the specifications are clearly defined and the appropriate technology is implemented.

With the advances in technology, Robotic End of Arm Tools have become increasing flexible. They have the ability to mimic a human hand and grasp objects in the same manner as an operator. The following video highlights how far technology has come:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxmbmplqCSkThe ability to integrate vision systems with robots has also increased the need for precision and accuracy to handle parts. With vision accuracy within .001”, the robot motion and end of arm tool actuation must be consistent and repeatable up to 150 times per minute. Automatic tool changers have also given robots the flexibility to handle a wide range of skus with very limited downtime. Instead of one extremely complex EoAT handling multiple skus there can be multiple simplified EoATs handling the same number of skus. This decreases the complexity of the robotic work cell and improves the performance of the system. Whether it is an ABB IRB 360 Robot handling a 1kg part or a Fanuc M-2000iA handling a 900kg part, the end of arm tool must be accurately tailored for the application.

Typical Applications for Industrial Robotic End of Arm Tools include:
Bag Palletizing
Case Palletizing
Consumer Product Handling
Machine Tending
Mixed Load Palletizing
Full Layer PalletizingDepalletizing Operations
Bin Picking Operations
Heavy Load Handling

Bastian Robotics has developed many custom Robotic End of Arm Tools that have taken into account a diverse set of design requirements. One example is the Robotic Palletizing of automotive and marine batteries to remove operators and improve the ergonomic conditions. The Robotic EoAT was made of stainless steel components because of its use in a corrosive/acidic environment. We were required to palletize 55+ skus with varying battery sizes and weights. There were multiple pallet patterns that required handling of slip sheets and layer sheets by the EoAT. These design requirements were highlighted upfront and included in the finalized tool. Whether it is a Basic or Custom End of Arm Tool, the functionality of this piece of equipment can drive the success of your system.

Steven is a Robotics Application Engineer at Bastian’s robotics division in St. Louis, MO.

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