3D printing: absolute flexibility
When using robot grippers, light, small or components with filigree geometries are often required. There are sometimes limits in automation technology, and this is where 3D printing closes the gap. Printed components or entire robot grippers with integrated pneumatics, for example, are used in many areas of automation technology. It is irrelevant whether it is single editions or series production. We offer various solutions here and have been doing so for almost 20 years.
In practice, individually adapted gripper jaws for parallel grippers or grippers, contours and stop pieces up to ultra-light gripper base frames and create complete robotic hands with integrated airflow.
Made of polyamide and since 2022 also made of neutral, carbon fiber or glass fiber reinforced onyx material, we offer a wide variety of quality solutions at short-term implementation. Optionally, the 3D-printed components can be provided directly with EP coating or flock. Both methods stand for long durability, high strength, low weight and are therefore important arguments in sustainable gripper construction.
3D printing using the SLS process
The 3D printing using the laser sintering process (SLS) creates freedom in design for the development of new components. Due to the compact size and the low weight of the gripper, many functions can be combined in the smallest of spaces. Very small cavity spacing and the handling of thin-walled and unstable parts are possible. In addition to the weight advantage due to the lightweight construction, movement elements can be integrated directly into the components. In this way, 3D contours can be formed that contain air channels or gripping functions and movable elements such as ribbed structures or bellows.
Lightweight grippers made of polyamide save weight and offer sustainable, reliable gripping solutions. We call 3D printing using the selective laser sintering process ASS PA-Forming. The generatively produced grippers are successful exactly where conventional gripper systems reach their limits. With this 3D printing using the laser-sintering process, the plastic powder polyamide is melted by a laser and the polyamide powder solidified in this way is selectively built up in layers to form a solid body.
Fibre-reinforced 3D printing
Since 2022, our 3D printing portfolio has been expanded to include a first-class and professional 3D printer that is specially adapted to the processes of the CFR method (Continuous Fiber Reinforcement). The composite base material onyx can be processed neutrally or an additional glass fiber or carbon endless fiber reinforcement can be printed at the same time. This achieves a high strength of the component with minimal weight.
This process can be used to produce ultra-light gripper base frames and gripper jaws for parallel grippers and grippers that are adapted to the component to be gripped. The fibre-reinforced gripper base frame is also ideal here if handling is reaching its weight limit and an even more stable gripper structure is required. The classic robot hand kit combined with fiber-reinforced components guarantee a long service life and satisfied customers.
Series production of 3D-printed lightweight gripper parts
We have been using 3D-printed components in series production for many years. For example, the lightweight design of the needle gripper NGR 12 DL has a weight advantage of 37% compared to the aluminum version.
The IBG internal grippers are also serially printed from polyamide at our Overath site using the SLS process. As the IGB EP variant, the gripping surfaces are provided with the highly abrasion-resistant and almost imprint-free EP coating.
Supplementary components from the ASS robot hand construction kit, such as various stop pieces for gripper fingers, are also available in the catalog as a series product, always with the option of creating customized components.
Data accurate, rapid manufacture
In practice, the gripper parts made of polyamide and onyx can be individually combined with a classic robot hand in a profile design. We have been using this combination of technologies successfully for many years and are thus expanding the possible uses of robotic hands with 3D printing technology.
Production is based on CAD data, which can be processed in our design department if required. Another advantage of the process is the economical production of the components or grippers due to the time and cost savings. A high-quality solution can be provided to the customer in a timely manner. The complexity of the actual part does not affect the manufacturing cost. Furthermore, we offer the 3D-printed gripper parts and robot hands in the smallest batch sizes from a quantity of one.