As e-commerce purchasing becomes the norm, professional buyers expect to see the speed and flexibility of their online systems matched by that of their product deliveries. With its mixed product lifting, high speed and large capacity, Unigripper’s new Layer Gripper allows distribution centres to meet their customers’ expectations. Layer Gripper is available in the UK exclusively from TIA Robotic Tooling Solutions Ltd.
The Layer Gripper uses a unique combination of Unigripper’s patented vacuum lift technology, mechanical clamping bars and side skirts to adaptively handle and lift individual customer consignments, irrespective of their constituents’ mix of size, shape, weight and fragility, while maintaining a high throughput. Objects such as sealed boxes can readily be lifted by vacuum alone. For more difficult or irregular shapes such as bottled drinks, the side skirts act as baffles, allowing the vacuum grippers to create the vacuum necessary for lift. Where vacuum lifting is impossible, the mechanical clamping bars can handle the load. Alternatively, a combination of vacuum and clamp lifting can be optimised for individual applications.
Both palletizing and depalletizing operations are possible, as are multi layer loads. Each layer can be different, with, say, cardboard boxes on one level and bottles on another. The layers can be completely or partly full, with gaps between products being permissible. The side skirts can be adjusted to baffle for loads of different heights.
The Layer Gripper provides fast throughput with up to 350 cycles an hour. This performance is aided by servo operated clamping bar height adjustment. The programmable clamping force can be minimised for fragile products or set to any level up to 200Kg per side if more lift is needed. A maximum layer weight of 300Kg is possible. Two pallet sizes are supported: Euro pallet, with a maximum gripping size of 1320 x 1040mm and US/CHEP pallet handling up to 1420 x 1220mm.
The Layer Gripper functions as a rigid End of Arm Tool (EOAT) with a mechanical interface and robot adapter provided. It is typically used within robot or gantry mounted palletizing systems. A DeviceNet network communications interface is provided for remote configuration, control and data collection.
Cardboard boxes or trays containing any product with or without plastic shrink wrap can be lifted. This includes bottles, either loose or shrink wrapped. Recycled plastic bottle crates are another load example, and product temperatures from -40˚C to +60˚C can be handled.
The versatile Layer Gripper is highly cost effective in distribution centre installations. Only one unit is needed per multiproduct conveyor line, and it can become a simple to support single type solution throughout a centre.