Schunk was displaying a wide variety of products at the 2010 Machine Building & Automation exhibition, several of which had not been seen in the UK before. These included a pick-and-place unit, vision sensors, microvalves and miniature grippers.
PPU pick-and-place unit
Schunk's PPU-E30 pick-and-place unit has been designed as an integrated unit from the outset, rather than being multiple single-axis devices connected together. Linear motions are electrically operated, with a pneumatic gripper and the option of an additional (pneumatic) rotary axis between the Z axis and the gripper. Capable of very high speeds and accelerations, the PPU is claimed to be "The world's fastest pick-and-place" (for a unit of this type).
To make integration as simple as possible, the compact unit also incorporates the drives so the machine builder or system integrator just has to make the electrical and pneumatic connections, all of which are grouped together at the rear. PPU units can be used singly or mounted next to each other.
To overcome the inherent disadvantages when having to mount bulky valves away from pneumatic actuators, Schunk has developed the Micro Valve MV family of valves that are so small that they can be mounted directly on an actuator without adding significantly to its weight (or inertia), with the micro valve weights starting form a mere 10.5g. Little bigger than flow controllers, the valves incorporate miniature solenoids so that a 5-7ms switching time can be achieved - and without any lag between the valve switching and the actuator starting to move.
Three sizes are available, with rated flows of 45, 135 and 175 Nl/min. Furthermore, a modular design means that the valves can be enhanced with flow restrictors and silencers. Where, for example, banks of grippers need to be used, a manifold block can be used so that a single air supply is required, yet the micro valves can operate the grippers independently.
Designed primarily for placing electronic components, but equally suitable for handling other small parts, Schunk's latest miniature grippers are just 10mm wide. Customers have a choice of parallel or angle types, and the tiny grippers even incorporate rolling element bearings and position sensing. The parallel gripper has a stroke of 1mm.
Schunk's image processing modules (which some people might refer to as vision sensors, camera sensors or smart cameras) are extremely compact, yet they incorporates lighting (in a choice of colours or infra red), the lens and the evaluation electronics. This unit has been developed to be easy to use, with a simple 'teach' button on the camera body, and intuitive PC software for configuration and viewing images. Originally Schunk required a vision sensor for use with robot-mounted grippers (some of which feature a bore through which a camera can capture images), but there are many other applications for which the device is suitable.
Follow the link to find out more about Schunk's latest automation innovations.