End Effectors 125

This class describes the various types of end effectors and their uses. It also explains the issue of compliance and describes how to maintain end effectors.

Class Details

Class Name:
End Effectors 125
Number of Lessons:
Additional Language:

Class Outline

  • Objectives
  • What Is an End Effector?
  • Types of End Effectors
  • Grippers
  • Vacuum Grippers
  • Magnetic Grippers
  • Other Grippers
  • Gripper Selection
  • Process Tooling
  • Compliance
  • Active vs. Passive Compliance
  • End Effector Maintenance
  • Summary


  • Define end effectors.
  • Identify the types of end effectors.
  • Describe grippers.
  • Describe vacuum grippers.
  • Describe magnetic grippers.
  • Identify other types of grippers.
  • Describe factors for gripper selection.
  • Describe process tooling.
  • Describe compliance.
  • Distinguish between active and passive compliance.
  • Describe common end effector maintenance practices.



Vocabulary Term Definition
active compliance A type of compliance with which the robot modifies its behavior based on the output from a force sensor.
adhesive gripper A type of end effector that uses a continuously fed ribbon covered with an adhesive that sticks to the objects the robot manipulates. Adhesive grippers are commonly used for lightweight materials where other gripper types would be less effective.
bladder An expandable sac that can be inflated with air or filled with fluid.
compliance The ability of a robot to tolerate and compensate for misaligned parts. Robots can use either an active or passive strategy to achieve compliance.
double gripper A mechanical gripper that has two separate grasping mechanisms attached to the robot arm. While double grippers can perform multiple tasks at once, they are more expensive and less reliable than single grippers.
electromagnet A powerful magnet that gains an attractive force only when current passes through it. Electromagnets can be turned on and off with a switch.
end effector The end component of a robotic arm that is shaped like a hand. End effectors give robots their distinct functional characteristics.
end of arm tooling The end component of a robotic arm that can be shaped like a specialized tool.
expanding gripper A type of end effector that uses an inflatable bladder to lift hollow objects from the inside.
fingers The part of a gripper that grasps an object.
force sensor A type of sensor that detects physical contact with an object or surface.
gripper A hand-shaped end effector designed for seizing and holding. Grippers are the most common type of end effector.
hook gripper A type of end effector that is designed to catch and lift objects that have a handle.
inflatable gripper A type of end effector that uses an inflatable diaphragm that expands to grasp an object.
ladle gripper A type of end effector that is designed to scoop liquids or powders.
magnetic gripper A type of end effector that uses electromagnets or permanent magnets to pick up metallic objects.
mechanical gripper The standard gripper that uses fingers to physically grasp and manipulate objects.
passive compliance A type of compliance with which the robot has a flexible gripper that deforms in response to forces caused by slight misalignment.
permanent magnet A magnet that has a constant attractive force. Because they are always "on," permanent magnets have limited usefulness as grippers.
preventive maintenance Maintenance performed while a robot is in working order to keep it from breaking down. Preventive maintenance includes periodically lubricating, tightening, and replacing worn parts.
process tooling The instrument or device attached to the end of a robotic arm that enables the robot to perform a specific task. Process tooling, such as a welding gun or a drill, is usually mounted directly to the arm.
sensor A device that detects the presence or absence of an object, or certain properties of that object, and provides feedback. Robots use sensors to interact with their environment.
suction cup A rubber or plastic device that sticks to smooth, nonporous surfaces. A robot's grip strength may be determined by the size of the suction cups.
tolerance An acceptable deviation from a desired dimension that still meets specifications.
tool changer A device that contains multiple tools and is used to change the process tooling on a robotic arm.
vacuum gripper A type of end effector that uses suction cups for gripping flat objects.