August 8, 2018
by Canadian Packaging staff
ODENSE, Denmark – This year’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award (IERA) has gone to Danish manufacturer OnRobot, for its Gecko Gripper, which uses a self-cleaning technology for sustainable production.
OnRobot received the prestigious award at the 50th International Symposium on Robotics, which took place recently in Munich, Germany, according to a press release the company sent out on Aug. 2. The IERA recognized the company’s industrial application of innovative NASA technology in the first market-ready adhesive gripping system of its kind.
This technology is expected to enable new applications in sheet-metal processing, solar-panel fabrication, and other areas, with a new approach for collaborative industrial robotics, the company stated.
OnRobot CEO Enrico Krog Iversen said in a media statement last week that the company was “very proud” of the IERA.
“In the next couple of years, robots will gradually become an industrial commodity,” added Iversen. “Innovation and added value will then increasingly come from the applications themselves, their environment, end effectors, and sensors. Receiving the award reflects this trend.”
OnRobot based the Gecko Gripper on a concept developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Stanford University. Strong Van der Waals forces cause millions of microscopically small fibres on the gripper’s four surfaces to adhere to work pieces that are pressed against it. This adhesion works in a similar way as gecko feet so, even on surfaces.
The Gecko Gripper is the first market-ready adhesive gripping system of its kind in the world, OnRobot claimed. Unlike traditional vacuum grippers, it easily lifts and deposits material with holes or porous work pieces like printed circuit boards. Adhesion is instant and residue-free, which increases production throughput.
Founded in 2015, OnRobot offers hardware and software technologies used in end-of-arm tooling for collaborative robots. The company integrates grippers, sensors, and similar equipment to facilitate the technology in packaging, quality testing, material handling, machine testing, assembly, welding, and other applications. Headquartered in Odense, Denmark, OnRobot has sales offices in the United States, Germany, China, Hungary, and Malaysia.
Image courtesy of OnRobot