Towards Task-Specific Modular Gripper Fingers: Automatic Production of Fingertip Mechanics

by   Johannes Ringwald, et al.

The number of sequential tasks a single gripper can perform is significantly limited by its design. In many cases, changing the gripper fingers is required to successfully conduct multiple consecutive tasks. For this reason, several robotic tool change systems have been introduced that allow an automatic changing of the entire end-effector. However, many situations require only the modification or the change of the fingertip, making the exchange of the entire gripper uneconomic. In this paper, we introduce a paradigm for automatic task-specific fingertip production. The setup used in the proposed framework consists of a production and task execution unit, containing a robotic manipulator, and two 3D printers - autonomously producing the gripper fingers. It also consists of a second manipulator that uses a quick-exchange mechanism to pick up the printed fingertips and evaluates gripping performance. The setup is experimentally validated by conducting automatic production of three different fingertips and executing graspstability tests as well as multiple pick- and insertion tasks, with and without position offsets - using these fingertips. The proposed paradigm, indeed, goes beyond fingertip production and serves as a foundation for a fully automatic fingertip design, production and application pipeline - potentially improving manufacturing flexibility and representing a new production paradigm: tactile 3D manufacturing.


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