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SCHUNK, headquartered in Lauffen am Neckar, is one of the illustrious group of German family-owned companies that have achieved international technological leadership in their industry. The company, which is active in the areas of clamping technology, gripping technology and automation technology, ensures an intensive market presence, not least through its approximately 3,500 employees in nine plants, its 34 own national companies and sales partners in more than 50 countries. But technological leadership not only has to be achieved, it also has to be defended - which should not be particularly difficult in view of such developments as the bionically inspired ADHESO gripper technology.

Looking at the paws of the gecko

ADHESO is based on the principle of adhesion and uses the intermolecular Van der Waals forces to handle a wide variety of workpieces. These are the forces that also help the gecko to gain a foothold on mirror-smooth surfaces. SCHUNK has therefore succeeded in making this principle usable for various handling applications.

The interaction of surface and material selection

The basis for the special surface architecture of the ADHESO grippers is formed by special polymers, from which SCHUNK produces an extremely fine leg structure that adheres to a wide variety of materials and objects without leaving any residue. But that's not all: due to its scalability and the use of particularly suitable material characteristics, the adhesive structure can be adapted to different workpieces and surfaces. In this way, grippers with ADHESO technology should be able to be individually adapted to a wide variety of workpieces and applications.

Grip - and release

To pick up workpieces, the ADHESO structure simply has to be placed gently on them. This increases the contact surface and the Van der Waals forces begin to take effect. To release the workpiece again, four or five mechanisms have proven their worth: In addition to the release processes induced by rotating, tilting or pushing movements as well as press-offs, there is the alternative of equipping the gripper with an active stripper, which prevents mechanical stress on the workpiece at the deposit position.

What does not grip is made gripping

According to SCHUNK, the realisable possibilities of the ADHESO gripper technology are as diverse as the applications themselves. Due to the variables of material, topography and size, the gripper should be able to be individually tailored to the most diverse requirements. Currently, the company has four standardised ADHESO gripper pad sizes with matching ISO flange adapters in its range, with which a large number of gripper applications can already be realised quickly and cost-effectively. At the customer's request, however, SCHUNK also supplies individual ADHESO gripping solutions directly tailored to special applications.