Bosch Rexroth Showcases its Adaptable Robot Effector

June 1, 2023
The new Smart Flex Effector from Bosch Rexroth is a sensor-based compensation unit for industrial robots and Cartesian systems with an active measuring function in six degrees of freedom.

Though it’s the robot arms and architecture that get most of the attention, the end effectors (or end-of-arm tooling) is where the action happens…or doesn’t happen if the end effector can’t adapt to the application. And with the growing application of robots across industry—particularly at companies without extensive robotic experience or the associated technologies to ensure components are always delivered to robots in a precise manner, there’s a clear need for robots to be more adaptable to their environment.

This operating reality for so many manufacturers is leading to the development of new end effector technologies, such as Bosch Rexroth’s Smart Flex Effector—a sensor-based compensation unit for industrial robots and Cartesian systems with an active measuring function in six degrees of freedom.

Demonstrating the Smart Flex Effector at Automate 2023, Brad Klippstein, product manager for smart mechatronics at Bosch Rexroth, explained that this new end effector “flexes in six degrees of freedom—x,y and z plus the rotations about the x,y and z axes—to provide information about any positional deviations back to the robot. It can sense how far out of position [a part is from its expected position] and tells the robot so that it can make real-time adjustments in the process.”

According to Bosch Rexroth, beyond detecting any position deviations between the effector and the part to be manipulated, the Smart Flex Effector’s high-resolution 6D position feedback means that it can also be used to collect measured values around deviations to provide information about process quality. This information can then be used for quality monitoring and logging.

The Smart Flex Effector features IP54 protection and has a carrying capacity of up to 6 kg.

Target applications for the Smart Flex Effector include handling or joining processes with narrow tolerances, for quality documentation, tool center point detection or for the automated compensation of position drifts in the rotary axes as well as in the x-, y- and z-directions.

In the video below, Brad Klippstein from Bosch Rexroth demonstrates the Smart Flex Effector at Automate 2023.

About the Author

David Greenfield, editor in chief | Editor in Chief

David Greenfield joined Automation World in June 2011. Bringing a wealth of industry knowledge and media experience to his position, David’s contributions can be found in AW’s print and online editions and custom projects. Earlier in his career, David was Editorial Director of Design News at UBM Electronics, and prior to joining UBM, he was Editorial Director of Control Engineering at Reed Business Information, where he also worked on Manufacturing Business Technology as Publisher. 

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