TRUMPF's New Multigripper: Excellent Solution for Shops Looking for Versatility in Their Bending Processes

TRUMPF has introduced a new and versatile multigripper that delivers greater productivity for automated bending processes.

The innovative vacuum gripper is fitted to the TRUMPF BendMaster robotic arm. Up to 12 grippers can be positioned in this way. Using these grippers, the BendMaster can remove a workpiece from the stack, move it reliably and efficiently within the bending cell, and then place it on the stack of finished parts.

This new multigripper can be set up much more quickly than conventional vacuum grippers. Instead of a conventional gripper that must be modified for each new workpiece, all necessary adjustments for the new multigripper can be made at the system level. This reduces the time needed to set up the bending cell.

"Small-batch production runs and a shortage of skilled labor are two of the problems facing those who work with sheet metal," explains TRUMPF Inc. Head of Smart Factory Applications and Automated Bending Franziska Maschowski. "The TRUMPF multigripper makes it economic to use automated bending processes, even for smaller batch sizes. Any company -- even those already well equipped with automation -- can increase their efficiency with the multigripper."

The gripper is available in two sizes: small (S) for the transport of workpieces up to 13 lbs. in weight, and medium (M) for workpieces up to 114 lbs. Using these two variations, companies will be able to cover a wide range of parts. The gripper is used with the TruBend Cell 5000.

Suitable for Small Batches

Automated production of small batches was generally considered to be uneconomical in the sheet metal industry because the gripper must be modified for each new workpiece, a process that requires several manual steps. For example, operators must often cut metal sections to size, attach brackets and suction cups, bolt all the components together, and then connect them with hoses at the appropriate points -- operations that can require several hours.

Moreover, with the current shortage of skilled labor, operators who are proficient in such activities are not always available. The new multigripper from TRUMPF can be adjusted to handle a new workpiece in a matter of minutes. With the M-size gripper, each of the eight suction cups can be adjusted and replaced by means of a hex key.

Minimal expertise is required to perform this operation. As a result, it is much quicker and easier to set up the gripper for a new workpiece. Moreover, with the M-size gripper, each of the suction cups can be individually activated. This is useful when handling workpieces with complex geometries.

Faster Handling of Workpieces

In addition, the new multigripper offers highly efficient and versatile handling of workpieces within the bending cell. The S-size gripper, for example, features a swivel joint that rotates through 180 degrees.

This means that the multigripper can turn over workpieces without having to put them down -- something which conventional gripper systems are unable to do. This reduces cycle times. The multigripper is ideal for companies that have a TRUMPF bending cell and are looking to boost their productivity. Job shops, in particular, will profit from this solution, since they have to undertake frequent gripper modifications in order to bend new workpieces.

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