This article describes a new class of end-effectors that can be used with robotic and material handling devices for grabbing and holding deformable objects with undefined shapes such as sacks and bags. These end-effectors can grab and hold filled sacks from any point on the sack and regardless of the sack orientation and position. The first prototype end-effector, designed for the U.S. Postal Service, has two rollers. The rollers are pushed toward each other by the force of a spring. When the rollers are powered to spin, the inward spinning of the rollers causes the sack material to be dragged in between the rollers due to the friction between the surfaces of the rollers and the sack material. The spring pushes the rollers toward each other with sufficient force to hold the sack material in place between the rollers. The end-effector described here has been evaluated and proven to be exceedingly effective in grabbing and holding postal sacks. This article describes the underlying principles of the design, grasp conditions and control of the end-effector.
A Practical Robotic End-Effector for Grasping Postal Sacks
Contributed by the Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control Division of THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS for publication in the ASME JOURNAL OF DYNAMIC SYSTEMS, MEASUREMENT, AND CONTROL. Manuscript received by the ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Division final revision, August 8, 2003. Associate Editor: M. Goldfaib.
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Kazerooni, H. (April 12, 2004). "A Practical Robotic End-Effector for Grasping Postal Sacks ." ASME. J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control. March 2004; 126(1): 154–161. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1649981
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