Automation Blog

Control and Flexibility Set Electric Grippers Apart From Conventional Grippers

Control and Flexibility Set Electric Grippers Apart From Conventional Grippers

When adding a gripper or other end effect device to your cobot or assembly equipment, your productivity will depend on your gripper’s control and flexibility. For many years, pneumatic grippers have been the tried-and-true choice for most assembly-type applications. And since end effectors are a longstanding technology, you’ll find many units to meet your needs.

However, not all gripper technologies are the same. Electric grippers offer several advantages versus conventional air-driven grippers that will enhance the productivity of your cobots and other assembly equipment. The advantages include:

Control and flexibility. Motor-driven electric grippers can be programmed to deliver the exact forces, stroke, clearance and speed required to manipulate the desired object. And, integrated sensors provide smart feedback on grip forces and positional feedback, ensuring precision throughout the process.

High productivity. Electric grippers are capable of high speeds and short cycle times. Thanks to their programmability, they also require less setup time and effort when handling various sized parts and workpieces, improving uptime and efficiency by up to 15 percent versus conventional grippers.

Power and cost savings. Unlike electric grippers, pneumatic and vacuum-type grippers require a compressor, air lines and additional hardware, and the associated electricity to power the system. In fact, our electric grippers require up to 80 percent less power than conventional grippers. Electric grippers also save money since they don’t need an expensive compressor, and they avoid the costs and downtime associated with integrating and maintaining an air-driven system.

Exceptional success rates. The current for electric motors is proportional to applied torque, which allows greater control over gripping forces that act on the part. This element eliminates errors and makes electric grippers especially attractive for use in applications with tight tolerances or with breakable parts.

Noise reduction. Since they don’t require noisy compressors, electric grippers are far quieter than other gripper types.

Clean. Electric grippers are desirable for cleanrooms and other applications that can’t tolerate the airborne contaminants that may leak from air-driven grippers.

Because air-driven grippers require air lines, they are not suitable for cobots and other applications requiring battery power. Electric grippers, on the other hand, are ideal for cobots. In fact, many units offer plug-and-play compatibility with popular cobot brands. For example, our PGC Series electric gripper that's ideal for high-end manufacturing applications supports most currently available cobots, including our lightweight, modular AW-Tube with six-axis and ROS programmability. You can see AW-Tube outfitted with a PGC40 electric gripper in action in this video.

Watch the Video!

IKO is the U.S. distribution partner for AutomationWare. Visit, or contact IKO at for more information.

Sign up for technology updates: