A robot gripper that uses electro-static adhesion won a Game Changer Award at RoboBusiness earlier this month. Many grippers use a vacuum to hold on to items, but that puts stress on the items and can cause damage. According to Grabit, the company behind the gripper, using electrostatic adhesion eliminates high point stresses on large sheets of glass.
The hand is also highly energy efficient and features a simple, lightweight design that is free of vacuum hoses. It’s designed to work with a range of flat materials, including circuit boards, mobile devices, cardboard, fabric, and glass. It also features an LED backlight for visual inspection of materials and to assist with vision-guided part registration.
Grabit is not the first robot hand to use electro-static forces. Several years ago, Altius Space Machines developed an extendible arm designed to use static forces to collect space debris. Once the robot hand grasps the space junk, no additional power is required to hold on.