Powerhouse with a long stroke for collaborative applications

The SCHUNK Co-act EGL-C long-stroke gripper represents a milestone on the road to achieving comprehensive human/robot collaboration. As the world’s first long-stroke gripper for collaborative operation, it achieves high gripping forces up to 450 N combined with a long stroke of 42.5 mm per finger. The intelligent 24 V powerhouse is suitable for handling workpiece weights up to 2.25 kg and can be flexibly used in a wide variety of applications. And an additional benefit: The components will be DGUV-certified for HRC applications in time for the market launch at the end of 2019.

While the gripping force of the DGUV-certified SCHUNK grippers has been limited to 140 N per finger, the company is now rising to a new league of components with the Co-act EGL-C, and for the first time will be opening up the potential of human/robot collaboration for handling weights beyond small parts assembly. With this the competence leader for gripping systems and clamping technology is focusing its attention primarily on the automotive-related supplier industry as well as the automotive manufacturers themselves, who are working intensively on relevant HRC scenarios. In addition, the specialists from the SCHUNK Co-act team will also focus on other industrial applications, such as mechanical engineering, where the powerful gripper could become an effective accelerator for HRC applications that were previously impossible due to the absence of reliable actuators in the load range up to 2.25 kg.

Combined force and path measurement
To meeting the biomechanical limit values that are defined in ISO/TS 15066 standard despite its high gripping force, the SCHUNK Co-act EGL-C gripper is equipped with a combined force-/path measurement. Force measuring jaws and incremental encoders are integrated in the base jaws, and permanently control the individual gripping forces and the position of the gripper fingers. The gripping procedure stored in the gripper, and is divided into several phases. Up to a theoretical taught distance of 4 mm to the workpiece, corresponding to far less than the thickness of a finger, the gripping force is limited to 30 N. If a collision should happen during this approach phase, e.g. due to the ooperator’s hand, the gripper immediately goes to the safety-monitored stop, without the risk of causing an injury. In the second phase, at a workpiece distance of < 4 mm, the fingers are closing at a freely defineable maximum force of up to 450 N. If the system measures flexibility in this closing phase, for example because a workpiece is being gripped that is too small, and the operator wants to remove it manually, then this motion will also be automatically stopped. The same applies if the anticipated workpiece dimensions are exceeded by 2 mm due to reasons such as the absence of a part. In the third phase, the gripper then detects whether the part has been safely gripped and then activates the integrated gripping force maintenance by putting the brake. That means that the gripped part can never be dropped, even in the event of an emergency stop. In addition, no reference run is required in the event of a power failure.

Plug & Work
The powerful long-stroke gripper from the SCHUNK Co-act series comes completely pre-assembled and is available with the corresponding interfaces for HRC robots, including those from KUKA, YASKAWA, FANUC, Universal Robots, and NACHI, enabling fast and simple commissioning via Plug & Work. Thereby a commissioning assistant simplifies the programming process. In addition, a diagnosis interface allows access to the most important process and status data of the gripper during operation. To make collaboration with the user more efficient and intuitive, the gripper is equipped with LED lighting in traffic light colored which can be used to signal the appropriate status of the module.

The intelligent SCHUNK Co-act EGL-C can be optionally controlled and regulated via PROFINET, EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, Modbus/TCP or TCP/IP. The complete control and regulation electronics are installed inside the housing in a space-saving fashion, making decentralized use possible. Due to its 24 V DC operating voltage, it can also be used in mobile applications. Stable guides and a brushless servomotor ensure a high level of robustness and long-lasting and reliable operation with minimal maintenance costs. The gripper will be available from the end of 2019.