During an interview with Bas Hamers, founder and director of the Cobot factory, we asked him about his experience with the recently developed E-gripper and its application to Cobots. The Cobot Factory is a young company that makes collaborative robots (cobots) that can be used flexibly for many operations in the metalworking industry. For example, welding, machine loading, palletising or bending. In doing so, a cobot supports the operator who can be used for other, less repetitive, operations. Especially in the automotive and steel processing industries, the E-gripper is applicable to such cobots for lifting, lifting or positioning ferromagnetic products. The new end-of-arm tool is electrically switchable, unlike pneumatic grippers which are air-controlled.
- Bas, how did connecting and installing the E-gripper to the cobot go?
"That went well. It came with clear instructions and the connection diagram was very clear, especially in terms of input and output. The drawing and step file of the E-gripper are easy to download on the site, so preparations can be done even before delivery. For example, for the hole pattern. That works well and is very convenient."
- Why did you choose the Goudsmit E-gripper?
"I have always used Goudsmit's pneumatic grippers. I have good experiences with those. Goudsmit offers good support and is nearby. With them I'm not just dealing with a webshop where you order something and can't reach them afterwards, should something be wrong. Good support is very important. Also for my customers. If one of their grippers breaks down, an entire line could come to a standstill. Reliability is good. If there are problems, I can reach Goudsmit easily and we can exchange the gripper quickly. That is very important for me and my customers."
- What makes the electronic magnetic gripper suitable for cobot and robot applications? "That includes the feedback of status and product presence. But the adjustable and adjustable magnetic force is also a big advantage of the E-gripper over the pneumatic gripper. AND: there is no residual magnetism! This is virtually zero. That is an advantage, because then it also releases a light product quickly. It doesn't stick. While trading, you have 3 different versions of the E-gripper, for different payloads (NB= weight you can grab). This goes from light to heavy. When handling steel products, a magnet holds the load very well. It will not slide, as can be the case with vacuum or parallel grippers."
- -How do you experience the quality of the E-gripper ?
"Good, robust and solidly built. It has a solid housing. The gripper comes in combination with a connection cord of your choice and the appropriate plugs, plus an easy-to-replace friction ring that is also available separately."
- What are the advantages of the intelligence in the magnet?
Bas: "There is no need to build external sensors or anything like that on it, so with just the e-gripper you can make a smart and safe system. And the adjustable magnetic force is also a big advantage."
- Are the returning signals easy to translate into PLC?
"Yes, they are very easy to translate in PLC. They are actually just digital inputs and outputs that are very easy to connect to the cobot, without any additional hardware needed. This certainly applies to the cobot solution."
- What is the added value of the E-gripper in automation applications?
"A big advantage is the feedback. And the fact that you don't need air for your application. In fact, it is switched electrically, which is a lot quieter. That's important for some applications. What is also a big advantage is that the product is well fixed, with no play. Then you can also move against a stop, for example. We often apply this successfully in cobot automations. This way, you can grab a product and push it against something with force, exactly as an operator would do. With other grippers, there is soon a bit of slack. "
- In which markets or industries do you see potential to deploy the cobot/e-gripper combination?
"In the metalworking industry. From machining to sheet metal. And for palletising applications, where steel products from a production process need to be loaded onto a pallet to make them ready for transport."
- Where do you see the benefits of automation or why do your customers need to automate and how does this fit with products like the E-gripper?
Bas: "Automating addresses the shortage of production workers and reduces repetitive or monotonous work. Automating certain processes means that companies can physically relieve employees from heavy tasks and offer them more challenge in other work. But automating with a cobot, among others, does not mean that jobs will be lost hear! Only that people can add more value by working together with the cobot. In this way, we can better compete with low-wage countries and keep production or industry in the Netherlands. "
- How did you experience the cooperation with Goudsmit? And the support?
"Good! Goudsmit is very accessible. You can always call. They are easily accessible and respond quickly. The staff are friendly and helpful. Goudsmit is a nice and pleasant party to work with. I always feel the freedom to be able to call for consultation or a question. That's nice."