Some Tier II suppliers provide a wide range of parts to the automotive industry, while others are better suited to focus on only one type of part. Grand Rapids, MI-based Erwin Quarder Inc. (EQI) specializes in making plastic-injection overmolded, two-shot-molded and insert-molded parts. All of the parts are complex in design and require high precision molding, according to Waldemar Boldt, manager of the automation department at EQI.

In the fall of 2019, EQI needed to purchase 16 grippers for an application involving the exact placement of small aluminum bushings onto the molding pump cover. EQI quickly turned to the Zimmer Group for help, due to its design expertise, timely delivery and reputation for durable grippers that can stand up to a harsh molding environment over the long term.

Zimmer engineers recommended that EQI use Zimmer’s MGP803N grippers for the application. The grippers are ideal for small parts and small spaces, and rated for 10 million maintenance-free cycles.

At the expected production rate of 1.5 million cycles per year, EQI will have worry-free gripper performance for several years. Since being installed, the grippers have accurately inserted the bushings with a repeatability of ±25 microns.

“We are saving money and time in the long run,” notes Boldt. “In today’s manufacturing world, with machines getting more and more complex, if you can pick a gripper with long, proven life, it could help eliminate downtime and loss of profits down the road.”

The MGP800 series gripper features a finger-mounted jaw and a lightweight but robust housing made of a hard-coated aluminum alloy. A permanent magnet ensures accurate position sensing and direct monitoring of piston movement. The gripper also has a slot for mounting and positioning magnetic field sensors.

Removable centering sleeves allow for quick and economical positioning of the gripper fingers. The gripper, and its energy supply, can be robot mounted from any side for versatile positioning. A spring is integrated into the gripper cylinder to store energy for safe gripping at maximum force (6 to 400 newtons, depending on model).

Boldt says that EQI has a global reputation for tight-tolerance plastic part design and production while using many types of engineered resins. The company is also well-known for its high-quality steel tooling, which comes with a guarantee of 1-million shot-life cycles.

Another supplier benefitting from Zimmer grippers is Adolf Föhl GmbH + Co. KG, which provides zinc-casted parts for the automotive and other industrial sectors. In 2017, Adolf Föhl began using Zimmer’s 01SYS001040 and 01SYS001041 two-finger pneumatic grippers on a robot at its factory in Rudersberg, Germany.

Located in the middle of a workcell, the six-axis Yaskawa robot removes two metal castings at a time from a press, before placing them temporarily on a rack so the castings and grippers can be reoriented for easier part pickup. The robot then places the parts on a nearby rotary indexing table for further processing.

After each indexing turn, the table presents two finished parts, which the robot grabs and places on a nearby conveyor. The process is then repeated. Cycle time is about 24 seconds.

For more information on grippers, call 828-855-9722 or visit