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"Automation is the key to shaping a healthy, efficient and responsible industry," says Timo Gessmann, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at SCHUNK. Accordingly, the technology company from Lauffen am Neckar is focusing on two key topics at this year's HANNOVER MESSE: "The Healthy Factory" and "Innovation through Collaboration". The aim is to design a healthy and economically successful production for people and the environment. Innovative automation and digitalization modules play a central role in this, which SCHUNK aims to promote through the expansion of its network of experts and an open culture of exchange.

From experts for experts

Automation not only helps to close gaps in skilled labor, it also offers the opportunity to produce faster and more efficiently while reacting flexibly to changing production landscapes. To make access to automation as easy as possible for its customers, SCHUNK is making its expertise available via user-friendly digital services, among other things. Two new tools, for example, are designed to enable the validated design and individual configuration of linear modules. According to SCHUNK, the new Control Center also offers an intuitive user experience. In future, customers will be able to access comprehensive digital modules in the familiar app functionality and use them easily and flexibly. For example, the parameters of electric grippers such as gripping force, positions and gripping speeds can be optimally set for the application before commissioning.

The healthy factory

On the main topic of "The Healthy Factory", SCHUNK will also be demonstrating at its stand how industrial processes from loading and unloading to machining can be designed from a single source in an energy-saving, safe and flexible manner: with tailor-made applications from clamping technology, gripping technology and automation technology.

New electric gripper series such as EGU and EGK enable safe handling processes in a wide range of production environments thanks to individual parameterization and different gripping modes. They are based on a standardized, user-friendly functional concept and are future-proof thanks to regular software updates. This also characterizes the 2D Grasping Kit. The application kit consists of an application-specific gripper such as the EGU, a camera system and an industrial PC with SCHUNK's own AI software. SCHUNK has developed the intelligent kit including the AI for a quick introduction to the autonomous handling of non-position-oriented objects. No prior knowledge of programming or image processing is required to use it. It can be used to free skilled workers from repetitive tasks, which should create a healthier and more attractive working environment.

The networked machine

Thanks to its unrivaled synergy and expertise in automated machine loading, SCHUNK offers all components for a networked machine in its broad portfolio. New sensor-based clamping modules such as the KSP-S3 power clamping block enable automated clamping processes in the machine room and can be integrated into the machine control system thanks to IO-Link. Combined with the iTENDO2 sensory tool holder, the machining process can be mapped transparently and machining time and waste can be significantly reduced. The hydraulic expansion toolholders in the TENDO series also reduce energy consumption in the overall process.

Partner with industry expertise

SCHUNK is also designing new production steps with adapted automation solutions in changing future industries such as e-mobility and electronics. This can be seen in Hanover using the example of the new RCG round cell gripper for the flexible handling of battery cells with a diameter of 46 millimetres. The gripper can be extended as required to form multiple gripping units and, in combination with the dynamic linear direct axes, enables reliable high-speed applications.

Innovation through collaboration

"We are convinced that collaboration and openness lead to pioneering innovations that sustainably develop the industry," explains Timo Gessmann. This is why SCHUNK is involved in partnerships on many levels and pursues an open, user-centered approach. SCHUNK makes its products accessible as digital twins for plant simulation via platforms such as NVIDIA, the world's leading provider of AI computing. In the innovation ecosystem for artificial intelligence (AI) Ipai, SCHUNK is working on new practical solutions with the key technology. SCHUNK also wants to contribute to the design of a shared digital data space as part of the Manufacturing-X initiative, where experts work together to ensure that the digitalization of industry gains significant momentum in the coming years.