Schunk’s Nature Inspired Robot Gripper

July 26, 2022 by Shawn Dietrich

Schunk offers their robotic gripper inspired by geckos, the ADHESO, a residue-free, energy-free, adhesive gripper that extends robot capabilities. The ADHESO is an innovative product on the market worth keeping an eye on.

Part Handling With Robot End Effectors

Most robots used in production have the ability to grip parts with the use of pneumatics or servo motors. By physically gripping a part, the robot can then remove the part from the fixture, pallet, or conveyor and move the part to another location. With the increasing demand for automation and industrial robots, gripper technology has come a long way. There are now options for unique gripping applications that can be applied to virtually any robot.


pneumatic vacuum robot gripper

Schunk’s JGZ 3-finger gripper uses compressed air to grab materials. Image used courtesy of Schunk


Vacuum Grippers 

A vacuum gripper uses negative pressure to hold onto the surface of a part. Typical uses are when material that the robot needs to handle is thin, flat, or flexible. A vacuum can be generated in many ways, but the typical fashion for automation is to use a vacuum pump or venturi generator which uses positive pressure to create a vacuum. 

These vacuum generators require constant consumption of energy while holding the part which is not very energy efficient. Another caveat of vacuum grippers comes when trying to hold porous material. The vacuum cup needs to make a tight seal in order to maintain holding strength. Schunk has recently released a different kind of robot gripper that uses a fine hair structure similar to that of a gecko.


ADHESO grip is a robotic gripper inspired by gecko hair

Schunk’s ADHESO grip is a robotic gripper inspired by gecko hair. Image used courtesy of Schunk


ADHESO Robotic Gripper

The ADHESO Grip uses individually adapted plastic pads that are made of special polymers which provide an adhesive style gripping force. This gripper doesn’t require any vacuum source or electrical energy—it completely relies on the material that makes up the face of the gripper. 

When a gentle force is applied to the surface, the finely structured legs or hairs adhere to the surface of the workpiece. To release the workpiece, one of four motions can be applied to the gripper: rotation movement, tilting motion, sliding motion, or pressing vertically. The gripper functions without leaving visible residue, and there is no particle emission, making this a great solution for clean room applications

The gripper was developed in conjunction with Schunk’s partner INNOCISE and is being marked as a “green" energy-free gripping solution. This style of gripper is designed to adhere to flat smooth surfaces that are clean and free of oil and dirt. It can support payloads from 3-16 kg and a diameter of 25-56 mm, depending on the model selected.


residue-free adhesive gripping possible for clean room applications

There are multiple applications where residue-free adhesive gripping is essential, including clean room applications. Image used courtesy of Schunk


ADHESO Applications

Electronic assembly is the first application that comes to mind when reviewing this gripper. There are a lot of small, light, and clean components that need to be picked up and placed accurately. Utilizing a gripper that doesn’t require hoses or electrical wiring allows for higher flexibility of the robot arm, making it very adaptable for clean room applications. 

Solar panel wafers are another great application for this gripper. Radius parts such as a syringe would also benefit from this style of gripper. When handling plastic medical products, it is important to leave no residue or damage the surface of the product. With the ADHESO gripper, these problems are quickly resolved.