With the help of adhesive forces, geckos have been moving easily over smooth surfaces for millions of years. Now, Schunk is using this principle for developing various fields of handling applications with its new gripping technology, ADHESO.
With this technology, components can be sensitively gripped, without leaving any residue or requiring additional energy. The possible solutions include glass fibers as light as feathers, small SMD components, micro-mechanical parts, battery components, plastic films, paper, glass, and automotive or mechanical engineering components weighing 15 kg or more. Automated separation of breathable components is also feasible with this gripping system.
ADHESO is based on the principle of adhesion, using the intermolecularly acting Van der Waals forces for handling. The patented surface architecture is made of special polymers and is optimized by numerical simulation. The result is a structure of extremely finely structured legs, which adhere to different materials and objects. The structure is gently pressed onto the workpiece during the gripping process, thus increasing the contact surface, and the Van der Waals forces can start acting on the workpiece. This effect can be reversed by applying a slight pressure/rotary movement so that the gripper can be loosened — residue-free — from the handling object. The alternative use of a wiper ensures that the object is gently put down.
The respective adhesive forces and removal of ADHESO depend on the variation of material, topography, and miniaturization, and is customized to the different requirements of the application. The adhesive structures can be adapted to the required size and the loading condition (horizontal/vertical), and can be designed transparent, translucent or opaque.
Effort and costs for installation and commissioning are minimal, since the adhesive technology is gentle on components, low-noise, and doesn’t require compressed air, vacuum or current. An external energy supply is not necessary for gripping or for maintaining the gripping force. In case of a power failure in the handling system, the holding forces of the gripper are reliably maintained. ADHESO allows gripping times of <100 ms. It can be used in conventional industrial environments, but also in cleanrooms and vacuum environments. In the field of micro handling, repetitive positioning accuracies of <0.01 mm can be achieved. The ADHESO gripper has a bayonet lock, so grippers can be exchanged in just a few simple steps.