This study identifies the need for a new range of end effectors suitable for non-rigid products and introduces a novel non-contact gripping device. The end effector operates on the principle of generating a high-speed fluid flow between the end effector and product surface thereby creating a vacuum which levitates the product. The lifting forces and conditions are discussed by using optimization methodology and finite element analysis. The experimental results are presented using the end effectors that have been operated to lift non-rigid food materials such as jelly blocks.
Key words: Vacuum lifting force, end effector, robotic handling.
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