Mike Wilson | December 1st, 2015
Clamping Technology & Gripping Systems Provide Efficient Methods for Uninterrupted Collaboration Between Humans and Handling Systems
Just when you think that you have seen it all from a World Class Gripper, Work Holding, Tool Holding and Automation company – Schunk they introduce 3 new components for use within one the hottest new innovations in the Robotic Industry – Collaborative Robots. These 3 new products can be used within a robotic or Production cell with safety zones (using SLS, SOS, STO), and can assist in allowing for continued production with other safety products – when a safety alarm in a non critical area or process is triggered. This allows for the continued Robot-Human Collaboration in cell with the proper Safety Survey, and a safety system designed according to the accepted rules for Collaborative Robots. The rapidly advancing Collaborative Robotic market will continue to have great solutions offered by the always innovative Schunk, and their Technical Distribution partner – Cross Company’s Automation Group
Schunk has begun providing safety concepts for each of its three mechatronic pillars. Human & Robotic cooperation is being extended throughout the entire production process – especially in assembly – and there will be a drastic increase in the number of collaborating systems. Present day systems have to be interrupted to troubleshoot or correct a process, but future collaborative robotic & gripping systems will provide a more efficient and almost uninterrupted process. Let’s take a look at Schunk solutions.
These Ready-to-Use Schunk Modules Enable SLS, SOS and STO Functions
SLS: Safe Limited Speed
SOS: Safe Operating Stop
STO: Safe Torque Off
Schunk’s EGN / EZN + ECM Controller & Safety Module allows for these safety functions, plus they fulfill performance level d and SIL 3. When used together with pressure mats, door switches, light curtains or 3D cameras for room monitoring, it’s possible to define different safety zones without the need to completely interrupt the production process by means of emergency shut-down. Instead, the grippers either switch to a SLS or SOS, depending on the activated safety zone. The safety gripping systems are supplied with continuous power in case of a SOS, so that gripped parts are held reliably even with mechanical gripping force maintenance. When the safety zone is released, the grippers switch directly back to its regular operating mode without delay and having to restart the system.
This allows new scenarios of direct man-machine cooperation. The gripping force, speed and finger position of the modules can be adjusted and controlled flexibly during the handling process. A resolver which is connected directly to the motor, continuously monitors the position of the servo motor and enable exact positioning of the gripper fingers. Schunk’s EGN / EZN is controlled by their ECM controller, which features standard connection technology (either via Profibus or CAN-Bus) thus facilitating commissioning and parameterization via PC, USB drive or rotary code switch.
In order to use the certified SLS, SOS and STO functions, the gripper and the controller are supplemented by the Schunk ECS safety module, which in turn monitors the resolver. No modifications to the gripper are necessary for this purpose. Because of the modular design, the safety functions can be retrofitted at any time. Depending on the size, gripping forces up to 1,000 N are possible.
Safety Gripper for Small Components – A Ground Breaking Solution
Schunk’s EGP Safety, which is d/SIL3-certified electric small component gripper with omnidirectional gripping force safety, now offers a ground-breaking solution for the handling of small components. In complex assembly systems, the goal is to minimize a complete system shut-down. Instead, single stations switch to SOS in case of manual intervention. Reiliable gripping of the parts is maintained, whether from the inside or outside. Ideally, other redundant stations will be activated in the meantime to perform the necessary tasks. As soon as the safety zone is released, the gripper switched back to regular operating mode without delay and without having to restart the system.
The EGP Safety is controlled by a PNOZmulti safety controller from PILZ. Monitoring is achieved by four inductive proximity switches. The combination of redundant monitoring with the safety module fulfills the conditions for reliable gripping and safe stop functions. The EGP Safety is an alternative mechatronic module which can easily be used as a 1:1 pneumatic replacement. The safety version of the EGP likewise requires no internal or external controller. The safety controller is simply placed in the control cabinet and connected to the sensor distributor.