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Gripping technology October 2023

Free pneumatic positioning made easy

The new type of pneumatic positioning device (PPD) from SCHUNK allows free pneumatic positioning with pneumatic grippers – with a simple set-up of gripper, sensor, and positioning device. Thanks to prefabricated PLC function blocks, commissioning is also very simple. This is an optimal solution for any gripper application, where flexibility is required, for example robot applications that move workpieces of different sizes, or in close proximity to each other.
SCHUNK – PPD application The pneumatic PPD positioning device enables flexibility in all applications with pneumatic grippers through free positioning, gripping force and speed adjustment.

Up to now, free positioning with pneumatic grippers has only been possible with solutions that are complicated for users. SCHUNK closes this gap now with the new pneumatic positioning device. It was developed as an accessory for pneumatic grippers and is controlled via IO-Link. Together with a position sensor, any position of the gripper fingers can be approached. This overcomes the gripper open/gripper closed principle. This new flexibility of pneumatic gripping requires only a simple set-up consisting of three components: the PPD, a positioning sensor, and a standard gripper. And that means neither modifications nor special variants of the gripper are necessary. With the PPD, this new dimension of gripping can therefore be easily retrofitted in the existing operating process.

Optimizing cycle times, preventing collisions

The flexible control of pneumatic grippers enables users to optimize their cycle times. Because the gripper fingers no longer have to move to the end positions before and after each gripping operation. The device avoids collisions with closely positioned workpieces, as it pre-positions the gripper fingers. Moreover, the gripping force can also be adjusted with the unit by adjusting the output pressure. This provides clear advantages, when different sensitive workpieces are to be gripped. Even more gentle gripping of the workpiece is possible by adjusting the gripper jaw speed, as this reduces the gripping impulse.

Application image – PPD Collisions with closely positioned workpieces are avoided since the gripper fingers are pre-positioned with the PPD

Robust and precise

Inside the unit, four integrated high-speed 2/2 valves together with the integrated electronics and the position sensor, which is installed on the gripper, ensure a closed control loop. The sealed design with IP67 makes the PPD ideally suited for use in industrial environments. Thanks to the robust design, the unit can be insalled end-of-arm - and therefore precise positioning can be achieved with short hose lengths. This ensures a positioning accuracy of up to 0.5 mm The PPD is available in three versions that differ in the flow rate of the internally installed valves. Size and weight always remain the same An IO-Link sensor by SCHUNK or all common analog sensors from other suppliers can be used as sensors.

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