Robot Grippers Disconnect from Pneumatic Power

Soft Robotics new coDrive system for robotic grippers doesn’t require connection to factory compressed air systems.

The mGrip gripper is designed for collaborative robotic applications such as pick-and-place, packaging, and machine tending.

Use of robots—both collaborative and industrial—has been growing across industry, particularly in industries without a strong history of industrial robot use. As a result, not all of these industries are set up with extensive house supplies of compressed air, which can limit the use of robotic gripping systems that rely on compressed air for motion control. Even in industries with established compressed air outlets, the requirement that robots be located near access to compressed air sources can be limiting factor in the use robotics.

The mGrip P2 cobot kit for handling small to medium sized items. Source: Soft Robotics

To address this issue, Soft Robotics has released its coDrive system to “cut the pneumatic cord” and allow the company’s mGrip gripper to be deployed where the customer needs it for collaborative robotic applications such as pick-and-place, packaging, and machine tending. Soft Robotics says users of collaborative robots can now bring mGrip adaptive technology to their application with the ease and portability of traditional electrical grippers. This initial release of coDrive is plug-and-play compatible with Universal Robots products.

The controller of the coDrive system fits into the Universal Robots’ cabinet and includes URCap software for programming via the teach pendant. To use the coDrive system, Soft Robotics says users simply install the mGrip system, set the grip pressure and release timing, and can then immediately start picking in the manufacturing location of their choice, no longer dictated by the proximity of house air.


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