An angular gripper is one of the fundamental operating principles of grippers. A gripper in general is a device that holds an object to be manipulated in place. It can either be attached to a robot or as a part of an existing automation system. The best way to describe a gripper is a human arm. Just like our hands, a gripper can hold, tighten, handle, and release an object. Unlike a vise that is usually a stand-alone unit, a gripper is typically just one component of an automated system. Angular grippers are available in a variety of styles and sizes so that each model can be selected for the intended application.
Grippers work by supplying compressed air to the cylinder of the gripper body which forces the piston up and down. And as the piston moves, the gripper jaws open and close through a mechanical linkage. The motion of gripper jaws can vary. It is the basic principle of how grippers interact with objects.
Angular grippers, as one of the three primary motions of gripper jaws, open and close around a central pivot point which moves in a sweeping or arcing motion. Angular grippers are often used when the space is limited or when the jaws need to move out of the way. Parallel grippers, on the other hand, move in parallel motion relative to the body of the gripper. They are used in a majority of applications and are typically more accurate than angular grippers. Another one of the three grippers is the toggle gripper. The pivot point jaw movement serves as an over-center toggle lock, offering a high grip force to weight ratio. Under such mechanisms, the jaws remain locked even when the air pressure is lost.
Grippers can come in a different number of jaws:
● 2-Jaw Gripper: 2-jaw is the most popular setup. A 2-jaw angular gripper provides two mounting locations for the fingers that come in contact with the object to be held. The jaws open and close toward the central axis of the gripper body in a synchronous motion.
● 3-Jaw Gripper: A 3-jaw angular gripper is a more specialized type of gripper. This very type of gripper has three mounting points for the jaws to come in contact with the part to be held. They also move towards the central axis of the gripper body in a synchronous motion. The 3-jaw models are more accurate than the 2-jaw ones because they provide more contact for the grasping of the object.
Besides the difference in motion and numbers of jaws, angular grippers can come in two different holding options – internal and external. Which option you use is determined by the geometry of the object to be held, the operation to be performed, the orientation of the objects to be held, and the space available.
● Internal Gripping: The use of internal gripping is ideal when the geometry of a given part needs to allow access for processing on the outside surfaces of the object to be grasped. In this case, the gripper holds the object by applying an opening force.
● External Gripping: External gripping uses closing force to grasp the object. It is the more common option used to hold parts.
Aside from the jaws, the design of gripper fingers and tooling also need to be considered for each application. Fingers are an essential component for jaws to actually make contact with the object to be grasped. Properly designed fingers can significantly reduce the size and grip force of the gripper needed to yield optimum grasping effectiveness. So it is important to consider how you want the fingers to be designed if you are going to acquire a custom gripper. This includes the shape of the finger, and the ones with optimal retention are usually preferred in order to increase stability and reduce the grip force needed.
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