Purple Robotics PR10
Purple Robotics is another new gripper company that has ties to UR. The Odense, Denmark-based startup was founded by a team of “three super nerds” that have a combined 18-plus years experience developing the UR3, UR5 and UR10 robots. Along with Kieffer, the Purple Robotics co-founders include CTO Peter Nadolny Madsen, and COO Henrik Tilletz Hansen.
Purple Robotics is offering the PR10, an electrical-based vacuum gripper that doesn’t require an external air supply. The PR10 features an internal air supply with an airflow that is self-contained, according to the company. It also offers two individual vacuum channels that can use simultaneously use different suction power and lost grip detection.
So not only does the PR10 eliminate external air hoses, Purple Robotics said it’s more energy efficient than traditional vacuum grippers. Purple Robotics claims the PR10 can be up and running in about 30 minutes with no prior training, which would reduces both the cost of implementation and changeover time between production lines.
The PR10 was quite heavy. It has a payload up to 10kg and costs about $4700 (€4000 Euros). Kieffer said the built-in pump is a major benefit, but it’s something that could be done before. He said, however, building a customized electrical-based pump that fit into a robot can be time-consuming, whereas the PR10 is an off-the-shelf solution with plug-and-play capabilities.
Kieffer said Purple Robotics has patents pending on the gripper and its tool changer. At press time, Purple Robotics already signed two U.S. distributors, Olympus Controls and Thinkbot Solutions, and expected to add nearly half a dozen more for coast-to-coast distribution in the US.
Since UR owns the majority of the cobot market, at the moment the the PR10 is specifically designed to be used with UR arms. Kieffer said the interface is generic to fit other robots in the future, but there’s no plans for that yet.
Purple Robotics is already included in the UR+ program of third-party robot accessories. In this partnership, Purple Robotics joins more than 77 industry-leading developers of robotics software, accessories, and end-of-arm tooling that share a sales channel with UR.
Schmalz also makes an electrical-based vacuum gripper that is part of the UR+ family called the CobotPump ECBPi. The CobotPump is customized to work with UR cobots and is available as a SIO-Link version without the URCap.
“The PR10 is a one-size-fits-all setup that eliminates the barrier to entry that is typically caused by customers’ unfamiliarity with pneumatics,” said Nick Armenta, automation engineer at Olympus Controls. “Existing vacuum systems need custom design and usually at least five different parts, sometimes from different sources. A single package that can be bought off-the-shelf and quickly deployed without any engineering is a huge benefit for the customers.”
As for the company name, here is its explanation: “not only is purple a beautiful color, but it is a color that takes courage to use. We often get the question “why is your company name Purple?” We want people to remember us, and we want to make a difference by doing things differently.”