External cabling is often necessary, but not always. You can avoid external cabling by using a robot with wrist connectors which connect directly to your gripper.

For example, our new Hand-E Gripper allows for a cable-free connection when it is used with the new UR e-Series robots.

6. Electric grippers are too slow

When we first started making our Adaptive Grippers, there was a persistent myth that only pneumatic actuators were fast enough for industrial applications.

Over the past decade, we have shown that this is clearly not the case. Electric grippers can now match pneumatic ones in many categories, and beat them in others. However, some people still believe that this misconception is still true.

7. More dexterity is better

The more dexterity a gripper has (e.g. more fingers, more flexible fingers) the wider a range of objects it can manipulate. When I was a researcher, I read studies which claimed that more dexterity is always better in a gripper. This is not true in industrial situations.

The problem with more dexterity is that it makes control more difficult. For example, Festo has recently introduced a new gripper concept based on an octopus tentacle. While it is very dexterous, it seems likely that it will only to be useful for a narrow range of applications as it requires complex control.

8. Speed is the most important property

The closing speed of the gripper is important, but it is not necessarily the most important property. It really depends on the requirements of your application. As Mathieu explained in his article 5 Factors to Consider before Buying a Robot Gripper, properties like grip force, precision and cost can be equally important.

9. Grippers must be used to grip

Often, the grip force limits how much weight a gripper can hold. The friction between the fingertip material and the object is multiplied by this force to give the maximum payload for a “friction grip.”

However, sometimes the gripper itself has a higher payload than the grip force allows. For example, Hand-E can hold only 3 kg with a friction grip, but it has a payload capacity of 5 kg. It can achieve this full capacity with a “form-fit grip” which uses the gripper a bit like a hook.

It is a misconception that you have to use the gripper to grip the objects. Sometimes, a different gripping strategy is more suitable to your task.

10. Grippers are difficult to choose

There are certainly a lot of gripper options on the market and more are made available every year. It can be a headache to pick the right gripper your task.

However, picking the right gripper doesn’t have to be challenging. Check out our eBook Grippers for Collaborative Robots for information on picking the right gripper for your task.

For more trends in robotics and artificial intelligence, check out the Robotics & AI Channel.