iMSL – Intelligent Material Systems Lab – Lehrstuhl für intelligente Materialsysteme an der Universität des Saarlandes

Development of an SMA based End-effector Prototype for Material Handling in Manufacturing Processes

In this paper a shape memory alloy (SMA) based handling all-in-one system is presented. The focus of this paper is the whole gripping system where several SMA based prototypes are combined in one gripping unit. The system consists of a reconfigurable SMA end-effector prototype, four bi-stable SMA actuated vacuum suction cups that are mounted on the arms of the end-effector and SMA brakes in each end-effector arm. This setup with four independent adjustable gripping arms allows the end-effector for adapting to either a flat shaped workpiece or a round shaped, spherical workpiece. Integrated mechanisms allow an energy free position holding of the end-effector components and only during adapting process electric current is needed. Furthermore a new developed SMA braking mechanism is presented in this paper. With this prototype former material handling systems could be replaced, in particular in times of industry 4.0 where time and energy management are of high importance. The SMA gripping unit that is driven by an external power electronics equipped with a microcontroller, can be mounted on a robot for diverse handling purposes.