Specification of Foam used in UniGripper/Piab Kenos/Schmalz FX
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    Default Specification of Foam used in UniGripper/Piab Kenos/Schmalz FX

    Hey Gang – looking for some insight into the type of foam used in vacuum grippers similar to UniGripper/Kenos/Schmalz FX style of ‘flexible’ or ‘universal’ vacuum grippers. Thought someone here might have worked with it in the past (machining or waterjetting it) or have information on the material specifications and/or a good source to buy from.

    And to head off the angry folks at the pass: No, I’m not looking to make my own replacement piece instead of just buying a spare/replacement – I want to try it out in another application and see how it works, and what kind of life expectancy it’ll have.

    Thanks all!

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    McMaster sells sample kits...might be a place to start.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miguels244 View Post
    McMaster sells sample kits...might be a place to start.
    Foam specific to vacuum gripping applications? I dug around and couldn't find anything that had that called out - could you link me to something if you found it?

    Thanks!

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    I'd imagine that any closed cell foam that matches the compliance and durability required for the application would work.

    I'd probably start with the adhesive backed, closed-cell foam at Mcmaster so I wouldn't have to pull out the Super77 (
    Last edited by BugRobotics; 05-25-2018 at 08:56 AM. Reason: Added Mcmaster link to adhesive backed closed cell foam

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    Quote Originally Posted by BugRobotics View Post
    I'd imagine that any closed cell foam that matches the compliance and durability required for the application would work.
    I was kind of thinking there was more to it than that, but maybe I'm way off base. I figured everybody would have their own super-secret recipe for foam on these (the UniGripper foam I have here is waaaay different than the Kenos foam I've seen before) but maybe it really doesn't matter?

    I guess I'll just jump in and start screwing around, I was just hoping to get a leg up on the initial learning curve, ya know?

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    +1 for jumping in and screwing around! Or (less fun) you could try calling one of the firms and talk about replacements for a gripper. I'd imagine that if you start asking a salesperson about the foam density and environmental specs you could get really close. That of course would mean you have an idea about the foam compliance needed and can convert that into density (I have a hard time doing that without the foam/object being picked up in hand). I'm taking a wild guess but I'd imagine the big guns just use off-the-shelf foam of different formulations for varying levels of compliance and environmental conditions.
    Last edited by BugRobotics; 05-25-2018 at 09:21 AM. Reason: I can't spell

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    i have made rubber coated parts and i just used polyurethane which comes in different durometers. you mix part A and B and pour into mold. if metal clean and has slots or dovetails it will stick better than on sticking power which often is more like electrical tape . polyurethane comes all types including foaming types
    .
    i also used double bubble before if you got really small jobs requiring only small amounts. why cause if you got big containers as soon as you open and air gets in it slowly goes bad. usually better to order litter or quarts rather than gallons of polyurethane in my experience
    .
    hardman double bubble polyurethane - Google Search

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    Yep, just screw around.
    Do pay attention to material compatibility.
    I’ve had cups that didn’t like the parts I was handling and fell apart.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BugRobotics View Post
    +1 for jumping in and screwing around! Or (less fun) you could try calling one of the firms and talk about replacements for a gripper. I'd imagine that if you start asking a salesperson about the foam density and environmental specs you could get really close. That of course would mean you have an idea about the foam compliance needed and can convert that into density (I have a hard time doing that without the foam/object being picked up in hand). I'm taking a wild guess but I'd imagine the big guns just use off-the-shelf foam of different formulations for varying levels of compliance and environmental conditions.
    I actually met with my Piab rep this morning about another project, but he didn't really know much about the specifics of the foam.

    I'm usually a little too eager to just start 'playing' and trying to figure stuff out, and can get pretty deep down the rabbit hole sometimes. And while I often learn a lot of cool stuff, it's usually not the most efficient use of my time (or so I'm told.)

    Might have a good excuse to do some learnin' on this one - hopefully without any blood

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny SolidWorks View Post
    I actually met with my Piab rep this morning about another project, but he didn't really know much about the specifics of the foam.

    I'm usually a little too eager to just start 'playing' and trying to figure stuff out, and can get pretty deep down the rabbit hole sometimes. And while I often learn a lot of cool stuff, it's usually not the most efficient use of my time (or so I'm told.)

    Might have a good excuse to do some learnin' on this one - hopefully without any blood
    Shoot if I had read this yesterday I would've added some foam to my Mcmaster order to play with and report back just for fun. What's the size of your vacuum platform you intend using and weight/topography of the part you want to pick up?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny SolidWorks View Post
    I actually met with my Piab rep this morning about another project, but he didn't really know much about the specifics of the foam.

    I'm usually a little too eager to just start 'playing' and trying to figure stuff out, and can get pretty deep down the rabbit hole sometimes. And while I often learn a lot of cool stuff, it's usually not the most efficient use of my time (or so I'm told.)

    Might have a good excuse to do some learnin' on this one - hopefully without any blood
    Shoot if I had read this yesterday I would've added some foam to my Mcmaster order to play with and report back just for fun. What's the size of your vacuum platform you intend using and weight/topography of the part you want to pick up?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BugRobotics View Post
    Shoot if I had read this yesterday I would've added some foam to my Mcmaster order to play with and report back just for fun. What's the size of your vacuum platform you intend using and weight/topography of the part you want to pick up?
    The thought (and it's just a thought at this point) is to use a 'double conforming' foam vacuum gripper (i.e. using foam faces on hinged sections of vacuum plate) as part of an inverter station on the fill section of an assembly line. Part shape means I won't have any hope of getting enough surface area to hold this thing against shear without wrapping around it somewhat.

    The alternative is to have a bunch of different change tools because the range of products (which are hard to grab by mechanical means due to potential part damage, and don't lend themselves well to vacuum cup seal) is absolutely huge.

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    Cool, sounds fun!


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