What Are Pneumatic Grippers?

Popular tools across various applications, ranging from robotics to biotech and pharmaceutical industries, pneumatic grippers are lightweight motion mechanisms that mimic human gestures to grasp and release items. The “jaws” of a gripper secure the entity during operation so the item can be moved about. Most grippers are pneumatically operated, meaning they operate on compressed air. As pneumatic grippers are widely used, they offer grip forces ranging from a few ounces to several hundred pounds. For your better knowledge, this blog will cover the basic functions, working principles, and factors to consider about pneumatic grippers.

One of the main characteristics that makes pneumatic grippers a popular choice is that most are double-acting. Grippers can execute two actions: internal gripping and external gripping. To form an external grip, the jaws close around the object; however, to form an internal grip, the jaws open to hold the object from the middle. A double-acting pneumatic actuator can use air to either open or close the jaws. Therefore, it can perform both internal and external clamping. While this makes pneumatic grippers versatile, one must take a few factors into consideration prior to purchase because different designs function better for certain operations.

A major defining category of pneumatic grippers is their jaw configuration. The jaws on the gripper are available as either parallel or angular. Parallel jaws remain parallel to the object they grasp at all times, while angular grippers open upward and outward similar to salad tongs. The configuration of both designs can vary. In general, parallel pneumatic grippers will depend on two laterally opposed pistons, while angular pneumatic grippers will depend on two opposing toggling devices; however, there are many designs for both methods. Many factors also contribute to the grip force, such as the number of “fingers” or jaws, the mass of the workpiece, and the acceleration of the movement.

Some pneumatic grippers are equipped with sensors that monitor the working location of the fingers. While grippers with two fingers function well enough for many operations, round or cylindrical workpieces frequently require three fingers as they offer more precise centering. The shape and weight of the workpiece also determines the type of grip required; whether angular or parallel.  Although the parallel gripper can be marginally more expensive than an equivalent angular design, others consider it to be superior to the angular type because it can also be used to grip an enormous range of component sizes without adjusting the attached tooling.

Overall, pneumatic grippers are popular for the many advantages they offer. Whether angular or parallel, pneumatic grippers are double-acting and therefore able to grip a wide range of workpiece configurations. Furthermore, they are budget-friendly and capable of generating powerful grip forces. Regardless of the specific design you require for your operations, we have the parts you need at Industrial Parts Circuit. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we are a leading online distributor of premium industrial automation parts, electronics, and more. With access to an inventory of over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items in stock and ready-for-purchase, we are your parts procurement partner. Get started today by submitting a Request for Quote form as found on our website, and expect a personalized quotation on any item within 15 minutes or less. We only ask that you include as much detail as possible in your form, such as target prices, shipping deadlines, and desired quantities. Our team of market experts works around-the-clock to provide our loyal customers with competitive pricing and rapid lead-times. For further inquiries regarding our products or services, contact us via phone or email at any time; we are available 24/7x365!


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