Handling what America eats: grippers in the food industry


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Several industries embrace industrial robotics as the fabric that keeps production moving. The food industry is no different. This industry makes good use of robotic food grippers to handle the food and drinks that America consumes.

There are several kinds of food robot grippers used in the food industry today. The two most commonly used are the claw and vacuum grippers.

Claw food grippers are made of stainless steel and are treated to be food-grade. This means they can work with fresh foods, like meats and produce, on processing and packing lines. A robot gripper like this can be used to haul something as small as a cucumber to something as large as a side of beef, depending on the payload capacity.

Vacuum food grippers, robotic grippers that utilize suction cups to grip flat surfaces or several objects at once, are employed in many of the palletizing and packaging areas. They can handle crates, boxes, cans, bottles and even pallets. Once again, the amount held is determined by the operating robot’s payload capacity.

These robot food grippers have to be coated and designed to operate at differing temperature levels. Many are able to tolerate working in refrigerated or frozen environments. They must also be able to handle uneven and damageable surfaces, which is why it is important that these grippers are programmed to handle the difference in material tolerances.

All in all, the use of these robotic food grippers brings a level of speed and accuracy to the food industry that cannot be matched by human hands. The robots also up the level on quality control and cleanliness on the line as well.

RobotWorx, a certified integrator of several different end effectors for many companies, has an array of food gripping end effectors to be used in the food industry. RobotWorx can help customers choose the right robot system and end effector for their application and facility.

For more information, contact RobotWorx online or at 740-251-4312.

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