BEDFORD, MA—Soft Robotics Inc. has introduced a new version of its mGrip soft gripper technology for collaborative robots. Called coDrive, the gripper has its own control logic and an independent air source, so the device can be used in applications without the need to be tethered to source of pressurized air.
As collaborative robots and robot arms become increasingly mobile, they require a gripping system that is as easy to deploy and use. coDrive grippers “cut the pneumatic cord” and allow mGrip to be deployed where engineers need it, untethering the system for a variety of collaborative robotic applications such as pick and place, packaging, and machine tending. The first iteration of coDrive has been designed specifically for plug-and-play capability with Universal Robots and has a UR+ certification.
“Our customers are deploying collaborative robots in an agile infrastructure, but to do so they require a gripping system that enables their agile manufacturing strategy and removes barriers that traditional grasping technologies present,” says Carl Vause, CEO of Soft Robotics. “We designed coDrive with this in mind to power our proven mGrip technology in our new Cobot Kits, allowing customers to deploy or re-deploy their collaborative robot anywhere and with ease, enabling flexibility in their supply chain and manufacturing operations.”
With the mGrip system, engineers use modular components to build a parallel or circular gripper with limitless finger configurations and spacing options. Grippers can be configured in minutes. The gripper’s soft fingers grasp and manipulate items with the same dexterity as the human hand. Path planning or reprogramming is not needed to flexibly handle items. The robot sees an item and picks it up, regardless of its size, shape or weight.
The coDrive system is a plug-and-play product for Universal Robots. The controller tucks away into the UR cabinet and includes URCap software for easy programming via the teach pendant. Enabling untethered mGrip applications was the inspiration for coDrive. Engineers simply install the mGrip system, set the grip pressure and release timing, and are able to immediately start picking in the manufacturing location of their choice, no longer dictated by the proximity of house air.
“We are excited by the new mGrip Cobot Kits from Soft Robotics that we see filling a gap in the collaborative market. These kits are truly designed with our customers in mind and are sure to enable quick deployment and a quick ROI,” says Joe Campbell, senior manager for strategic marketing and application development at Universal Robots.
Universal Robots UR+ certification program is designed to help engineers more easily automate their applications. Hundreds of robotic peripheral devices—such as grippers, end-effectors, compliance devices, cable guidance systems and vision systems—have been tested and approved to work with cobots from Universal Robots to provide engineers with fast deployment, simple programming and reliable operation.