In the coming years, as he says, mechatronisation, digitisation and automation, as well as human-robot collaboration and the intelligent networking of all process-relevant components, will unveil a new thinking in industrial manufacturing. He names three aspects that are important for this change: communication between all involved components, a maximum transparency on all levels of business, and a flexible reactio to internal and external events.
According to Klaiber, clamping devices and gripping systems are of great importance in all three fields. Schunk's plan, says Klaiber, is to expand its role as a leading supplier for both product categories: “Our goal is to expand the position of our modules clostest-to-the-part.” As he says, Schunk wants to enable detailed monitoring of every individual process step as well as to permanently supply the higher-level ERP system control and cloud solutions with process data and to be able to react flexibly to any respective events.
Highlight at EMO will be a functional manufacturing cell in which an intelligent Schunk EGL Profinet gripper with variable power and positioning enables autonomous handling and ensures automated quality assurance. The gripper is capable to decide on its own, whether a part is defective and has to be removed from the process. According to Schunk, all steps are monitored in real time and superordinate levels such as ERP systems or cloud-based monitoring platforms are provided.
Schunk hopes to the stage for new products for mechanical clamping systems that reduce idle times, increase productivity of machine tools and enable flexible processes, the company says. Therefore, Schunk is going to expand its modular system for workpiece direct clamping modules, to expand its portfolio of lightweight chucks, and to present the slim, vibration damping Tendo Slim 4ax hydraulic expansion toolholder. The underlying message: “Easy to use, easy to integrate, easy to maintain,” says Dr. Markus Klaiber. “Because modern gripping systems and clamping devices are the key to efficient and flexible production processes.”