FIPA in practice: Vacuum gripper lifts heavy cardboard boxes safely in a repacking station


With almost two decades of experience, PCA Roboter- und Verpackungstechnik GmbH is regarded as a specialist in innovative and powerful palletising and packing systems.

A new repacking station was required both to remove filled cardboard packages from crates and place these on a roller conveyor and, in a reverse sequence, to place the cardboard packages in crates. The cardboard package sizes ranged from between 240 to 360 mm in length and 220 to 240 mm in width. The weight of one cardboard box could be up to 20 kg. For safety reasons, the gripper system was to be designed to handle loads of up to 30 kg.

In the interests of developing an economical and process-reliable handling solution, FIPA suggested a vacuum gripper mounted onto a Z-axis. The Z-axis generates the vertical lift movement for placing the cardboard box packages in the crate and the subsequent removal from the crate.

Since the position of the cardboard box packages in the crate and on the roller conveyor was not accurately defined, the vacuum gripper had to cover the crate’s entire area. For the smaller cardboard box packages, part of the vacuum gripper was not in contact with the box being handled and, without countermeasures, would have sucked in air. Result: an increased volume flow for the vacuum generator and, therefore, higher costs.

A customer-specific configuration of a TC series vacuum gripper provided an efficient solution to this handling task. This series features integrated valves for closing suction openings that are not being used. The FIPA vacuum gripping system with a surface area of 340 x 240 and load-bearing capacity of up to 30 kg met the requirements PCA GmbH to their fullest satisfaction.

The customised vacuum gripper for PCA GmbH is another example of FIPA developing special solutions and customer-specific product design at competitive prices.

An experienced construction team and an extensive range of standardised vacuum and End-of-Arm-Tooling system components makes this possible.