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SCHUNK Launches Powerful 24V Grippers For Small Components

SCHUNK Launches Powerful 24V Grippers For Small Components

SCHUNK has launched a compact, mechatronic 24V gripper for small components, allowing flexible processes during a fast-paced pick and place operation. The SCHUNK EGB with IO-link, based on the tried-and-tested SCHUNK EGP, scores with a high speed and high gripping force, satisfies the IO-Link Class B Standard suitable for increased power consumption, and can be directly connected with an IO-Link Class B Master. Its gripper fingers can be freely positioned within every cycle, providing the highest level of flexibility.

Due to the gripper’s pre-positioning, the shortest cycle times can be ensured. As the gripping force can be adapted to the respective workpiece using software settings in four stages, handling scenarios with deformation-sensitive parts can also be achieved. Within the permissible finger length, both the gripping force and the gripping speed remain virtually constant over the entire stroke. The position of the gripper fingers is detectable using the integrated measuring system over the entire stroke, and no external sensors are required for monitoring.

On the other hand, intermediate positions or varying workpiece sizes can be monitored at any time. An integrated diagnosis tool permanently monitors the voltage, current, temperature, and condition of the gripper, and transmits errors automatically to the superior control system. If needs be, systems operators can also store maintenance intervals for the system on the tool. As the entire electronics of the SCHUNK EGP is space-saving in its interior, the gripper doesn’t take up any space at all in the control cabinet. Brushless servomotors and a clearance-free junction roller guide ensure a high level of efficiency, constant gripping forces across the entire finger length and make the SCHUNK EGP with IO-Link a dynamic, precise, and powerful expert for challenging handling of small and mid-sized parts.

Just like its predecessor the pneumatic SCHUNK MPG-plus, SCHUNK EGP takes screws on the side or at the base, increasing its flexibility within a system design. In order to increase the dynamics and the energy efficiency of higher-level systems, the gripper housing consists of a special high-performance aluminium. In addition, the design is rigorous in eliminating superfluous materials. It fulfils protection class IP30 and is suitable for the most various applications in the area of small component handling and assembly. SCHUNK EGP will initially be available in sizes 40, 60, and 64 with a finger stroke of 6/8/10mm, and maximum gripping forces of 140N/210N/300N. The repeat accuracy during the gripping operation amounts to 0.02mm, and during positioning of the gripper fingers, it amounts to 0.1mm to 0.2mm. However, this depends on the fact whether the finger position is reached from one or two directions. The gripper is suitable for handling parts up to 0.7kg/1.05kg/1.25kg. In addition to the version with IO-link, the 24V gripper is again available with actuation via digital I/O.



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Gripping And Clamping Solutions For Process Automation

Gripping and Clamping Solutions for Process Automation

In this interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), Vincent Teo, general manager of Schunk, talks about the challenges that their customers are facing, and how they are helping them address these issues. Article by Stephen Las Marias.

Schunk is one of the leading providers of clamping technology and gripping systems worldwide. Founded in 1945 by Friedrich Schunk as a mechanical workshop, the company has grown to become what it is today under the leadership of his son, Heinz-Dieter Schunk. The company is now under the leadership of siblings Henrik A. Schunk and Kristina I. Schunk, the company founder’s grandchildren.

Schunk has more than 3,500 employees in nine production facilities and 34 subsidiaries as well as distribution partners in more than 50 countries. With more than 11,000 standard components, the company offers the world’s largest range of clamping technology and gripping systems from a single source. In particular, Schunk has 2,550 grippers—the broadest range of standard gripper components on the market—and its portfolio comprises more than 4,000 components.

Based in Singapore, Vincent Teo is the general manager of Schunk, where he is responsible for the Southeast Asia market, including Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam. In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), Teo talks about the challenges that their customers are facing, and how they are helping them address these issues. He also talks about the trends shaping the clamping and gripping market, and his outlook for the industry.

APMEN: What is your company’s ‘sweet spot’?

Vincent Teo: Schunk understands the needs of manufacturing companies, which have assembly, handling and machining processes. Our products can apply in multiple manufacturing sectors.

APMEN: What sort of challenges are your customers facing?

Teo: Today, businesses face the challenge of getting skilled workers—and staff retention for many industries is becoming a struggle. This is even more severe for countries such as Singapore, which depends on foreign workers. If automation can help reduce these problems and improve work conditions, then more high-value jobs can be created.

APMEN: How is your company helping your customers address their problems?

Teo: We work together closely with our partners such as robot manufacturers and system integrators, and we aim to reach out to more customers to help them see the benefits of automation.

APMEN: What forces do you see driving the industry?

Teo: Collaborative robots, or cobots, have revolutionized many applications that were impossible to think of over a century ago. Less complicated programming equates to less man-hour training, making it cheaper for businesses to adopt robotics. This is game changer, and Schunk is working with the major players in this new era of robotics.

APMEN: What opportunities you are seeing in the Asia market for robotic clamping industry?

Teo: The trend towards automated loading on machining by robots is picking up in recent years. The company is well-positioned to support this growing demand with immediate solutions.

APMEN: What about the challenges in the region? How do you see the trade war between China and the US affecting the manufacturing industry?

Teo: There has been increased investments towards Asia. This is a good problem, where we see customers valuing more our solutions to help them to increase their productivity and capture more businesses.

APMEN: What are the latest developments in robotic clamping/gripping?

Teo: We constantly develop new products in anticipation of the needs of our customers. One example is our latest product, the VERO S NSE3 clamping module, which improves set-up time and has a repeatability accuracy of <0.005mm.

APMEN: How do you position yourself in this industry? What sets you and your solutions apart from the competition?

Teo: Schunk is a unique company, having clamping technology (CT) and gripping systems (GS) solutions. With more than 11,000 standard products, no other company has a comparable scale and size across the range of products. With integrated solutions for both, we provide our customers the best opportunity to automate their processes.

APMEN: What advice would you give your customers when it comes to choosing the correct robot clamping/gripping solution?

Teo: For the machining industry, some customers often invested in clamping solutions and realized later that they need to automate their processes. When they started to review, they will realize that their investments may not be future proof. This may further discourage them towards the automation idea. Our comprehensive CT products allow our customers to later upgrade with our GS products, as both offers seamless integration.

APMEN: The trend is toward smarter factories now, with the advent of Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, etc. Where does Schunk come in in this environment?

Teo: Schunk sees the need to embrace new technologies. iTENDO, our intelligent hydraulic expansion toolholder for real-time process control, records the process directly on the tool, and transmits the data wirelessly to a receiving unit in the machine room for constant evaluation within the closed control loop. With iTENDO—the first intelligent toolholder on the market—Schunk is setting a milestone when it comes to digitalization in the metal cutting industry.

APMEN: What is your outlook for the robotic clamping/gripping industry in the next 12 to 18 months?

Teo: We understands our partners’ and customers’ needs. For gripping, we have come out recently with new products to address the growing demand for collaborative robot (cobots). For clamping, our latest NSE-A3 138 is specifically designed for automated machine loading. It has a pull down force up to 28kN with integrated bluff off function and media transfer units.




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SCHUNK Releases Versatile Clamping Module For Automated Machine Loading

SCHUNK Releases Versatile Clamping Module For Automated Machine Loading

SCHUNK’s VERO-S NSE-A3 138 clamping module is specifically designed for automated machine tool loading as well as for applications in handling, assembly and automation technology. The module is part of the extensive SCHUNK VERO-S modular system, which enables more than 1,000 possible combinations for efficient workpiece clamping.

For reliable workpiece and clamping device changes, the automation component is equipped with a powerful blow-off function, which carefully cleans the bearing surface during the changing process. In addition, a spring-actuated cone seal prevents chips or dirt from penetrating into the interface.

VERO-S NSE-A3 138 features a pull-down force of 8,000N or 28,000N with activated turbo function, as well as a high dimensional stability of the module body, providing rigidity in automated quick-change solutions.

Depending on the application, the modules can be combined in any quantity. Centring inserts with flexible elements ensure positional orientation with a high repeat accuracy and maximum process reliability in automated operations. The repeat accuracy is <0.005mm.

The actual clamping is done without any external energy supply via spring force; it is form-fit and self-retaining, ensuring the workpieces remain safely clamped in the case of a sudden drop in pneumatic pressure. A pneumatic system pressure of 6bar is enough to open the module.

If the modules are used individually, a standard integrated anti-twist protection ensures a stable position in the highest configuration. Through its integrated media transfer, fluids with permissible system pressures of up to 300 bar can be transferred, for example, to control clamping devices using Plug & Work or to supply components for automated monitoring.

As part of the VERO-S modular system, the automation module benefits from a variety of combination options—from standard plates to SCHUNK TANDEM clamping force blocks to mechanical vises from the SCHUNK KONTEC series.



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Leveraging Human-Robot Collaboration

Leveraging Human-Robot Collaboration

The industrial automation industry is facing a fundamental change and, according to SCHUNK’s chief innovation officer Prof. Dr. med. Markus Glück, human-robot collaboration in manufacturing is certain to grow dramatically in the coming years. This importance of this trend was reflected in the large turnout for the 4th SCHUNK User and Technology Dialogue on ‘Using HRC Safely in Companies.’ The two-day event featured specialists in automotive, robotics, automation and engineering as well as medium-sized industrial companies from Germany and Europe discussing the applications and opportunities of human-robot collaboration (HRC) and experiencing them up close.

Glück is confident that co-acting, meaning unrestricted interaction with robots, is on the verge of a breakthrough. The main driving forces are ergonomic relief, greater flexibility of work processes, increased efficiency as well as the expansion of logistics, loading, handling and retrofitting.

“It’s all about bringing together the strengths of humans and robots,” said Glück. Combining the speed, power, repeat accuracy and high quality of robotics with the human strengths of perception, improvisation, reaction and adaptation, will create synergy toward maximising automation.

Meanwhile, first-time projects require a substantial amount of work that should not be underestimated, according to Glück. “The usual amortisation periods of less than two years will be difficult to achieve at the beginning,” he said. He recommended a systematic approach in which the suitability of the HRC application is first assessed based on specific eligibility criteria, such as the programming cost or the ability to implement operator guidance, the cost of integrating the application into the process chain, options for intuitive training, handling and acknowledgment, moderate cycle requirements as well the employees’ relationship with technology.

He also recommended conducting a business assessment that takes into account the costs of robot procurement, commissioning and integration as well as costs for safety precautions and certification. Conversely, however, the assessment must also consider the savings achieved by lowering personnel costs and increasing productivity. Above all, first-time projects should be thoughtfully approached, carefully planned and implemented with less complexity.

The 4th SCHUNK User and Technology Dialogue featured presentations from SCHUNK product manager Benedikt Janssen, who discussed SCHUNK’s options for cobot peripherals; Jochen Vetter, team leader for robot safety at PILZ, who gave an overview of standards-compliant use of HRC as well as reliable measurement of applied forces; Dr. Alfred Hypki, senior engineer at the Department of Production Systems of the Ruhr University Bochum, who presented a standardised questionnaire, which enables fast, objective and reliable assessment of HRC potential in companies; Sebastian Keller, production specialist for the BMW Group at the Leipzig plant, who explained how HRC is successfully employed in day-to-day production; Jens Kotlarski, managing director of Yuanda Robotics in Hanover, Germany, who gave an impressive presentation on the creative potential and dynamism of start-ups in the field of HRC; and Uwe Schmidt, head of the COBOT World division of HLS Ingenieurbüro GmbH in Augsburg, who demonstrated how HRC scenarios can be implemented in the real world.



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Schunk Investing €85 Million In Expansion Of Production Facilities

Schunk Investing €85 Million in Expansion of Production Facilities

Gripping systems and clamping technology provider Schunk is investing around €85 million in expanding its production facilities in Brackenheim-Hausen, Mengen, and St. Georgen in Germany, and in Morrisville, North Carolina, in the United States.

Around 42,000sqm of total production and administration space is being created, starting with the US plant, where the new buildings were officially handed over recently. In addition to the production area expansion, Schunk Intec USA created a 4,000sqm administrative building, which features a Customer Centre, where users can experience Schunk’s components live and receive additional know-how in technology forums and workshops. The new building was inaugurated in early May with an official ceremony followed by a Family Day. Schunk has invested a total of almost €10 million in the expansion of the site.

Meanwhile, €40 million are being put into the Competence Centre for Gripping Systems in Brackenheim-Hausen, Germany. The extension covers an area of 22,000sqm and represents a doubling of the existing production area.

Schunk is investing another €30 million in the Competence Centre for Lathe Chuck Technology and Stationary Clamping Systems in Mengen, in the district of Sigmaringen, Germany. Here, 12,000sqm are to be added for production and R&D.

Around €5 million were invested at the St. Georgen site in Black Forest, where the production area was doubled with an increase of 4,200sqm.

“In the coming years, we will experience a boom in automation and digitisation worldwide, and we’ll only be able to handle this by having the right capacities,” said CEO Henrik A. Schunk.

For several years, the company has been successfully focusing on these two trends and concentrating its resources and know-how. Schunk expects high growth rates, especially for mechatronic and increasingly intelligent clamping devices and gripping systems.

The company also recently announced its cooperation with AnotherBrain, one of the world’s leading specialists in artificial intelligence (AI).


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Schunk Launches Manually Actuated Clamping Module

Schunk Launches Manually Actuated Clamping Module

Schunk has extended its modular system for workpiece direct clamping with the release of the manually actuated series VERO-S WDM-5X. Enabling a defined clamping situation, reliable simulation and collision-free, highly efficient machining of five sides by means of basic and add-on modules, the  VERO-S WDM-5X clamping modules are actuated without the use of any media and independent of machine peripherals in no time at all via an Allen key.

One single turn of the tightening screw is sufficient for secure connection of clamping modules, either with one another or with the corresponding basic modules. The clamping modules can be used independent of the pneumatic system in external tooling stations, for instance, or in a very wide variety of machines. These can be combined with nearly all types of machine tables by means of flexible fastening systems.

Key elements of the series are basic modules in the heights 75mm, 125mm, 150mm and 175mm, which can be combined using add-on modules at heights of 75mm, 100mm or 125mm. In addition, the series includes a wide variety of different clamping bolts that can be integrated according to the size and shape of the relevant workpiece. Various reduction adapters enable five-sided machining free of interference contours. Freeform surfaces can also be clamped quickly and easily via height adjustment adapters.

Regardless of the height of the clamping pillars, the direct clamping modules are supplied with compressed air via a media transfer unit that is registered for patent, and locked via a force-locking and positive-locking connection with pull down forces of up to 25,000N (with 50Nm actuation moment). An integrated pull-down function ensures maximum hold. The actual workpiece clamping takes place in an energy neutral manner via spring force; it is a self-locking and form-fit clamping. The workpieces remain safely clamped even if the pressure in the air system were to drop suddenly. Presence of a workpiece can also be detected with the VERO-S WDP-5X.


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Schunk’s Universal Compensating Unit Enables Intuitive Bin-Picking

Schunk’s Universal Compensating Unit Enables Intuitive Bin-Picking

Schunk’s AGE-U universal compensating unit enables reliable gripping without having to first detect the exact position and location of the gripping object. Its complex design combines angled, lateral and rotary compensation and applies sensor detection once deflection takes place.

When bin picking, ferromagnetic blanks can be picked up by a magnetic gripper without having to detect their exact position or orientation. All that is needed is an approximate localisation, using equipment such as a simple 2D scanner. In addition, the module can compensate for tolerances and position deviations in six axes during automated assembly.

The AGE-U has combined rotation and angular compensation, allowing the end effector to fully adapt to the undefined component position or to feed through insertion operations with gripped components. In the X and Y directions, the maximum possible compensation is ±2.7mm. In the Z direction, it is ±6.1mm. Laterally, the compensation around the X axis and Y axis is at up to ±3 deg, rotationally, it is at up to ±8 deg around the Z axis. While the return to the basic position is achieved both via springs and actively via compressed air, the flexibility of the unit can be adjusted individually by regulating the air pressure. At a pressure of 6bar, the unit is switched to a completely rigid mode, eliminating uncontrolled movements during the handling system process. Both the locked status as well as the deflection of the unit from the basic position can be monitored via inductive monitoring of the locking piston.

The compensation module is recommended for handling weights up to 5kg and can be connected to a wide range of industrial and lightweight robots quickly and easily using the standardised ISO-50 flange without adapter plate. The housing made of anodised aluminium and the functional components made of hardened steel ensure a long service life and reliable operation with minimal maintenance costs. The Schunk AGE-U is designed for one million compensation cycles.


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Quick-Change System From Schunk Handles Weights Up To 50kg

Quick-Change System from Schunk Handles Weights Up To 50kg

Schunk GmbH & Co. KG has released a pneumatically actuated robot quick-change system that allows fast and process-reliable changing of different gripping systems and tools at the front end. With its four optional module attachment surfaces, the SCHUNK SWS-046 offers a wealth of options for supplying the connected pneumatic, hydraulic or electric effector. High-power modules, self-sealing fluid modules and servo modules are also available.

The SCHUNK SWS-046 features a large number of modules for connecting actuators and sensors electrically, such as for PROFIBUS, PROFINET, CAN, RS232 and EtherNet TCP/IP. These modules can be supplied with signals via examples such as mechatronic grippers or force/torque sensors.

The SWS-046 screw connection diagram corresponds to robot side ISO 9409-1-100-6-M8. Schunk also offers an optional centring collar plate with ISO flange pattern, so that the module can usually be used on most robots without the need for an additional adapter plate. The patented ‘no-touch locking-system’ facilitates a reliable tool change even if the head and the adapter are up to 2.5mm apart from one another.

In the event of an emergency stop or a sudden power failure, the patented self-retaining feature of the locking system ensures a process-reliable connection between the quick-change master and adapter. A piston stroke monitoring system that is also integrated can be used to monitor the locking state of the module at any time. The maximum permissible moment load is 678Nm (Mx, My) or 882Nm (Mz).


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Schunk Showcases Workpiece Tool Clamping Technology

Schunk Showcases Workpiece Tool Clamping Technology

Schunk GmbH & Co. KG is exhibiting its tool clamping technology at this week’s Moulding Expo—the largest trade fair for toolmaking, die making, and model making. Taking place from May 21–24 in Stuttgart, Germany, Moulding Expo showcases systems and service providers relating to plastics technology and metalworking: from manufacturers of machine tools and hot runner systems to software providers.

At the show, Schunk is displaying its extensive programme for workpiece and tool clamping technology, including the quick-change pallet system VERO-S, a modular system designed for workpiece direct clamping. The Schunk total tooling programme allows machining specialists to find the suitable toolholder for every machining task from micro to macro.


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