ISLANDIA, N.Y. — Festo already makes standard and adaptive grippers, but for certain applications such as metalworking or those in harsh environments, the company distributes partner products. Today, Festo announced that it now offers Magswitch magnetic grippers for handling metal parts.
Under a new distribution agreement, Festo is offering Magswitch switchable magnetic gripping and clamping systems to automotive and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Magswitch automation is designed to last the life of a production line, said the companies. They claimed that energy costs can be lowered by as much as 90%, throughput can be increased by up to 30%, and capital costs reduced as much as 25% in comparison with systems using vacuum cups and pneumatic/electric grippers or clamps.
Magswitch offers single-sided gripping systems featuring true on-and-off magnetic technology that can simplify and reduce the costs of complete automation systems in OEM assembly lines, said Festo. The magnetic grippers are suitable for applications such as robotic welding and pick-and-place operations, it said.
Magswitch grippers for multiple applications
The Magswitch components are designed to integrate into Festo’s electric and pneumatic automated motion architecture. “The technology is a natural complement to the Festo range of products and global customer base,” stated Ian Cleaver, Festo industry segment director.
Festo/Magswitch systems can be applied effectively to press lines and stamping operations, where switchable magnets can handle lubricated sheet metal blanks more effectively than suction cups by gripping through lubrication, the companies said.
In assembly and body-in-white applications, Magswitch switchable magnets offer the versatility and simplicity of suction cups while maintaining the reliability and safety of traditional power clamps, said Festo.
With single sided clamping, Magswitch tools can facilitate higher speed and quality while welding, and when integrated with vision systems, the tools streamline bin picking and handling randomly arranged components.
In machine tending and pick-and-place applications, operations can be performed faster with switchable magnetic end-of-arm tools compared to mechanical grippers, power clamps, and suction cups, said Festo. Separating ferromagnetic sheets with Magswitch sheet fanners and variable flux systems can reduce downtime and enable double blank detection, it added.
Magswitch offers custom-pole-shoe accessories with superior holding force that can securely grip components with various geometries. Applications in I-beam handling, fixture tooling, and ergonomic lift assistance can deliver efficiency gains while reducing downtime and capital costs, Festo said.
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Partnership with Festo includes integration, R&D
“Switchable magnetics from Magswitch is an important addition to the Festo range of pneumatic and electric grippers and clamps,” said Darren O’Driscoll, product manager at Festo. “The fact these components integrate seamlessly within the Festo motion architecture adds additional value.”
“Festo technology is incorporated within our switchable magnetic components,” said Joseph Cyrek, Magswitch president of automation. “In addition, we have joint research and development projects under way. Extending our relationship to include Festo being a supplier and distributor benefits the numerous companies that will now have access to Festo and Magswitch integrated solutions.”