Nachi Australia have developed a servo controlled robot actuator, called the Flex Hand, to impart human hand like flexibility in handling irregular shaped parts in applications such as bin picking, assembly and machine tending.
The fingers are powered by servo motors and their motion can be programmed as an extension of the robot axes. This enables seamless and synchronised operation of the actuator and the robot with many advantages, such as cycle time savings, controlled gripping power, reduced interference while picking the parts, etc.
The Flex Hand has made possible for the robot to handle different work pieces without the need for costly automatic tool changers and customised robot actuators. Also, the non value added time to change the actuators while using ATC is eliminated.
The three fingered Flex Hand can have either one or two fingers driven by servo motors and can have the rest pneumatically driven. The three fingers are made up of 8 joints to impart high reliability and rigidity. The Flex Hand is designed to be fail safe and does not drop the work piece during emergency stops or when the robot is powered down.
The Flex Hand has a maximum stroke of 200mm, each finger has a maximum clamping force of about 735N and can clamp with a maximum speed of about 330mm/sec. When used along with Nachi vision sensor, the robot can perform bin picking with ease.