Piab launches 'super cup' grippers that can 'lift anything'

Materials Handling Pty Ltd

Thursday, 15 April, 2021

Piab launches 'super cup' grippers that can 'lift anything'

Piab has launched a new suction end effector range for industrial robots that German company robominds has called the ‘Super Cup’.

The company says its MX suction cup family is capable of picking various objects primarily for the logistics, warehousing, e-commerce and recycling industries.

The MX suction cup can work across an array of applications such as bin picking, order fulfilment, box depalletising and parcel sorting. Gone are the days where you need to change the gripper or suction cup for each individual product in the application.

The multi-purpose, energy-efficient suction cup offers high gripping capabilities on many surfaces and materials. The MX suction cup has the ability to create a hard seal when using a low-vacuum flow, which contributes to a more sustainable energy output.

German robotics company robominds GmbH recently dubbed the MX suction cup the Super Cup because they found it can be used to lift anything — regardless of the material, geometry or surface structure. The company was looking for a gripper that could universally pick up all objects presented to it.

“We had just developed the first prototypes of our new MX suction cup, a multi-purpose tool, and were looking for test customers who would use it on real applications of a bin-picking task in which the products are not specifically arranged,” said Bernd Gries, Manager Global Strategic Accounts at Piab. “The intent was to check whether the suction cup holds, what it promises and really can accommodate products made from a wide variety of materials, with different surfaces and geometries.”

At robominds, the MX suction cup emerged as the missing link in the chain of the smart picking concept they were developing.

“It exceeded all of our expectations,” said Christian Fenk, CSO of robominds, describing the company’s test results. “No matter whether it is a roll-on deodorant, shampoo bottle, loose pot sponges, biscuit packs, plaster boxes, mustard tubes, disposable razors wrapped in foil, gummy bears, mouth-nose masks or ice scrapers. Even screw caps for jam jars in an already porous, ie, air-permeable, plastic bag were not a problem.”

The MX suction cups are available in five sizes: 35, 42, 50, 57 and 65 mm in diameter and are compatible with Piab’s piGRIP fitting program, allowing for fitting options tailored to application needs. For extra safety and robustness, users can opt for aluminium clamp fittings.

Piab’s MX suction cup is optimal for handling pouches, cardboard boxes, recycled objects and difficult-to-grasp bags such as thin bags, plus much more.

The company says its smart suction cup design means that the MX suction cup has a high sealing capability especially at lower vacuum levels. Up to 50% less vacuum flow is required on difficult-to-pick objects while still offering a safe and sturdy grip.

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