OnRobot releases "world’s most powerful electric vacuum gripper"

Monday, 01 March, 2021

OnRobot releases "world’s most powerful electric vacuum gripper"

OnRobot claims that its just-released VGP20 is the world’s most-powerful electric vacuum gripper, with a payload capacity of 20 kg, making it a great fit for a wide range of applications in industries from cosmetics and electronics to pharmaceuticals and food and beverage.

“Our customers asked for a cost-effective, easy-to-deploy vacuum gripper that can pick up bulky, heavy-duty payloads while being intelligent enough to handle a wide range of items, including those with irregular shapes and porous surfaces,” said Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO at OnRobot. “The VGP20 combines power, intelligence and ease of use that competes with expensive, complex pneumatic grippers.”

End-of-line operations such as palletising are labour-intensive and costly. Researchers estimate that, on average, labour costs account for 65% of warehouse facility operating budgets, dwarfing the costs associated with utilities, taxes, distribution and rent combined.

On this basis alone, automation is a compelling proposition for companies of all sizes. According to researchers, adoption of automated palletising solutions in the food and beverage sector is estimated to have increased at a CAGR of more than 13% since 2017 and is set to reach US$390 million by 2022.

OnRobot says its VGP20 electric vacuum gripper can take on applications that have traditionally been handled by powerful pneumatic grippers at a lower cost and complexity.

While pneumatic grippers require compressed air to operate, the VGP20 is all-electric and ready to go out of the box, enabling companies to save up to 90% on operating and maintenance costs compared to traditional pneumatic gripper deployments.

The VGP20 provides cup and airflow customisation and multichannel functionality, allowing it to be deployed on multiple items of different shapes and sizes.

Additionally, the VGP20 gripper’s built-in intelligence, combined with its easy-to-use software, provides precise air flow control functionality that is beyond the capabilities of traditional pneumatic grippers. This functionality allows users to vary the type of grip used in different applications, such as the soft grip used to handle delicate items to the hard grip required for handling bulky, heavy cardboard boxes with porous surfaces.

The costs of cardboard for packaging has risen by nearly 40% from 2010–2020. And with continued strong growth of e-commerce demands, estimates of further increases lead shippers to look for lower-cost options for packaging materials. Thinner, more porous cardboard and lightweight shipping bags present challenges for traditional automated packaging and palletising, however. The VGP20 easily handles these thinner and less expensive packaging materials, allowing shippers to save considerably on both automation and shipping costs.

OnRobot’s VGP20 gripper also provides an option to enable continuous monitoring of the gripper’s air flow. If this option is selected, and the vacuum is interrupted for any reason, the robot will come to an immediate halt and an alert pop-up window will be displayed in the gripper software.

“Efficient packaging and palletising performance is crucial to success for manufacturers, e-commerce and logistics companies. However, labour shortages present an ongoing challenge and performing these jobs by hand is both monotonous and unergonomic,” Iversen said. “The VGP20 gripper enables companies to automate these tasks, providing relief to workers while improving overall productivity and quality.”

Growing adoption of robot grippers in Asia

The global robot grippers market is projected to deliver a CAGR of approximately 15% from 2021 to 2026 as automation adoption increases. Asia Pacific will see the highest growth due to rapid modernisation and industrialisation, as well as increasing collaborative robot adoption and Industry 4.0 initiatives.

The Australian Government recently announced an AU$1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) to super-charge manufacturing, grow jobs and build the country’s reputation as a reliable and high-value manufacturing nation. MMI funding will support businesses to adopt new technology and enhance manufacturing processes to boost productivity and competitiveness.

James Taylor, General Manager, APAC at OnRobot, said: “With COVID-19, we are seeing more Industry 4.0 initiatives in the region. Governments are formulating policies to drive robotics and automation forward to strengthen domestic production. We are committed to helping manufacturers adopt automation quickly and easily with our wide range of smart and flexible solutions like the VGP20.”

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