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What Is a Pneumatic Gripper?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 17, 2024
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A pneumatic gripper is an air pressure-based device that uses air to grip onto items. There are two main types of units: parallel and angular. Depending on the design of the unit, operators may be able to apply more pressure on the object by using more air, or the gripper may just use a standard amount of pressure for each job. Aside from the gripping mechanism, the other two largest distinctions between each unit is the opening size and overall amount of pressure the gripper can apply. Grippers are used in many industries, from small grippers for hardware chips to large ones to grasp car parts.

The largest distinction between all pneumatic gripper units is the holding mechanism, normally referred to as either the jaws or fingers. In the jaw version, technically known as a parallel gripper, the two units that make up the jaw close together in a parallel motion, straight together to grasp the item. They are best for gripping flat objects or moving an item back and forth. The finger, or angular, grippers close from the sides, pivoting up and down from a central point. This often works best for objects that are rotated.

Air pressure is used to open and close the jaws or fingers of the pneumatic gripper on the object. In some units, there is a variable pressure, where operators can choose to increase or decrease the amount of force used to securely hold an object. Others grippers only offer one standard amount of pressure, and will not go higher or lower except when the operator is telling the device to let go of the object.

While the gripping mechanism is the largest difference between pneumatic gripper devices, there are two other distinguishing characteristics. Each device will have a different opening width, allowing the gripper to hold variously sized items. The overall amount of pressure the gripper can use will also be different, which will make it suitable for holding either light or heavy objects.

A pneumatic gripper is an industrial device used in many different industries. The computer industry uses grippers to move chips and small pieces of hardware around during construction. Car manufacturers use large grippers to move parts, such as the engine and transmission, around the manufacturing plant. Pneumatic grippers are very versatile units that can be used to accomplish many different tasks that require an object to be held or moved.

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Discussion Comments

By anon228390 — On Nov 08, 2011

I am working on a project now requiring assistance on grippers. The aim is to grab hold of mess and matter and drag it back to the waste container from dirty areas using a road drill compressor as power for air.

Any help please?

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