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How different grippers can best suit your learning needs ?

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Used in industrial robotics, grippers play an essential role in automation projects. In the field of educational robotics, grippers can be used to meet a variety of learning needs.

In recent years, collaborative robotics has revolutionized the education sector, facilitating hands-on robotics learning. Courses are generally run with the help of specific kits including various components, notably grippers. Also known as grippers, these devices enable students to discover some of the practical applications of robotics. So how can grippers meet your learning needs? We tell you all about it in this article !

 

A little background on educational robotics

 

To facilitate the automation of various industrial tasks, more and more companies are investing in collaborative robotics equipment. And they’re looking for young professionals who are fully conversant with these new tools. This is where educational robotics come in. Educational robotics enable teaching and learning through the use of robots to teach computer science, coding, programming and robotics, artificial intelligence and more. In fact, educational robotics is included in both elementary school curricula (cycles 1 to 3) and secondary school curricula (cycles 3 to 4), as well as in higher education.

In addition to theoretical courses in education, practical courses on a cobot or collaborative robot are essential. During hands-on, collaborative and interactive experiments, students learn about automation and industrial applications. Practical courses enable them to work on projects not only throughout their apprenticeship, but also as soon as they enter the workplace. These real-life situations enable young learners to learn how to use cobots or collaborative robots, as well as all associated technologies and equipment, including grippers.

 

What is a gripper?

 

In the field of robotics, grippers are devices attached to the end of the arms of a collaborative robot, performing physical work or interacting with its environment. Robotic grippers are among the gripping tools available. They are a peripheral device enabling a robot to carry out various automated manufacturing processes. Attached to a robot arm to be programmed, grippers enable objects of varying size and texture to be picked up, transported, assembled and positioned with high precision.

In the field of education, the use of gripper technologies enables different learning needs to be met, depending on the type of gripper used. Among other things, these peripherals can be used to develop the skills of young learners wishing to pursue a career in the industry.

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Learning robotics: what skills can be developed using different grippers?
In an educational environment, the use of a robotics kit including a collaborative robot and grippers helps learners to design, implement and use various automation solutions. The use of grippers enables learners to discover various automated processes in industry, such as:
– Pick & Place ;
– Inspection and quality control;
– Robot-assisted assembly of parts and installation of components;
– Product packaging;
– Machine supervision;
– Filling and packaging of food products; and so on…

 

What are the different types of grippers?

When teaching robotics technology (college, STEM activities, university or engineering school), different types of grippers can be used. Although grippers essentially perform the same functions, it is still possible to have different designs depending on how they are used.

 

Hydraulic grippers

For apprenticeships involving heavy products and applications, hydraulic grippers for robots are the way to go. Powered by hydraulic fluids, this type of robotic gripper stands out for its robustness and high gripping power. However, hydraulic grippers have a number of drawbacks. They require the use of oil, pumps and tanks. They are therefore not recommended for handling medical or food products.

Pneumatic grippers

Other types of robot grippers can be used in educational settings, notably pneumatic grippers. These use compressed air and pistons to actuate the jaws. Similar to human fingers, the jaws are used to grip, hold and release workpieces. Equipped with two or three fingers, pneumatic grippers can be either parallel, distinguished by their high gripping force or angled, enabling components to be clamped. This versatile gripping technology is used in a variety of industrial applications:
– Medical device manufacturing ;
– Robotics ;
– Automation;
– Laboratory processing;
– Plastic molding and injection;
– Pharmaceutical industry.

Vacuum grippers

This type of gripper uses the difference between atmospheric pressure and vacuum to lift, hold and move an object. The gripper is able to lift and hold objects thanks to the constant vacuum flow generated by a compressed air pump or a small electromechanical pump. Vacuum grippers can be used to automate a wide variety of tasks. However, they are generally used for packaging and palletizing products. In the field of educational robotics, this gripping tool is ideally suited to learning how to use a collaborative packaging robot.

Electric grippers

Electric grippers are ideal for tasks requiring light gripping force combined with high speed. This type of gripper is notably used to teach collaborative robotic applications such as Pick and Place, as well as machine maintenance.

 

In short, robotic grippers play an essential role in the automation process in any industry, guaranteeing production quality. Students trained in the use of this technology enjoy real added value once in the workplace.