• SoftGripper
      Educational SoftGripper
  • Solutions
    • Discover SoftGripping

  • Shop
  • Contact

What do I need to know before buying a gripper for a robot?

Table of Contents



If you’re in the market for a gripper for your robot, there are several factors you need to consider. Grippers are essential components of robotic systems that enable robots to grasp and manipulate objects. In this article, we’ll discuss the requirements for cobot grippers, the importance of hygienic design, the differences between pneumatic and mechanical grippers, and considerations for high-speed robotics.

Cobots are designed to work alongside humans, and as such, safety is a top concern when it comes to cobot grippers. The gripper should have force sensing capabilities that allow it to detect when it has made contact with a person or object and adjust its grip accordingly. Alternatively, you can rely on force recognition by the cobot and have a soft gripper that yields to the users’ limbs should they come in contact with the robot arm. Additionally, the gripper should be lightweight and have a low profile to minimize the risk of injury. Cobots are typically smaller and lighter than traditional industrial robots, so the gripper should also be designed to work with the cobot’s specific size and weight. Keep in mind that cobots are traditionally slower than industrial robots such as delta and scara robots. Some users start with cobots and later recognize that speed is what they are looking for, so keep that in mind when choosing a gripper. If it is as fast as a SoftGripper and has closing and opening times of under 50 ms, you can use it for both cobot and high-speed robots

A softgripper that is modified

In industries such as food or pharmaceuticals, hygienic design is crucial. Grippers used in these industries need to be designed to prevent contamination and be easy to clean. A gripper with a smooth surface and minimal crevices is ideal, as it reduces the risk of bacteria or other contaminants getting trapped in the gripper. Additionally, grippers made from materials that are resistant to harsh cleaning chemicals should be used to ensure that the gripper can be effectively cleaned without causing damage. In some countries customers may need to have an FDA compliant robot cell as well, keep it in mind and adjust your budget accordingly!

For more information, here are some regulations concerning hygienic design:

Personally, we use the guidelines of the Frauenhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA. Also available as a PDF:

demonstrator built by ahlrich siemens preparing burgers

Pneumatic vs. Mechanical Grippers: Compressor Requirements for Pneumatic Grippers

There are two types of grippers: pneumatic and mechanical. Pneumatic grippers are powered by compressed air and are often faster than mechanical grippers. However, they require a compressor to function, which can be expensive and take up additional space. If you’re considering a pneumatic gripper, be sure to factor in the cost and space requirements of a compressor and appropriate valve kit. In addition, pneumatic grippers require short pneumatic lines and high air flow to operate at maximum speed. Therefore, you need to ensure that your robotic system is equipped with the appropriate air flow and pressure to power the gripper. In our case, the requirements are noted in the catalog.

A pneumatic controller for delta robot and scara robot applications

In high-speed robotics, speed is critical. Pneumatic grippers are often the best choice for high-speed operations because they are faster than mechanical grippers. However, long pneumatic lines can cause delays, so it’s important to keep the pneumatic lines as short as possible. Additionally, the air flow to the gripper needs to be sufficient to ensure that the gripper can operate at maximum speed. If you’re considering a pneumatic gripper for high-speed robotics, be sure to factor in the length of the pneumatic lines and the air flow requirements of the gripper.
In addition to keeping pneumatic lines short and air flow high, there are other factors that can further optimize delta robot speeds in high-speed robotics. One strategy is to optimize pathing with circular trajectories, which can reduce forces on handled objects. Another strategy is to preopen and preclose pneumatic valves with a short delay to ensure forces on handled objects can relax. Additionally, using lightweight materials for the gripper and optimizing the robot’s control system can also improve speed and precision. By considering all of these factors, you can maximize the efficiency and performance of your high-speed robotics system. More about it in our further delta robot knowhow articles.

soft gripper finger clapping


What is a robot?

A robot is a machine that can be programmed to perform a variety of tasks automatically. Robots can be controlled by a computer or programmed to operate autonomously.

What is a gripper?

A gripper is an end effector used by a robot to grasp and manipulate objects. Grippers come in a variety of designs, including pneumatic and mechanical grippers. More on that in our dedicated gripper types article.

What is a collaborative robot?

A collaborative robot, or cobot, is a robot designed to work alongside humans. Cobots are typically smaller and lighter than traditional industrial robots and havebuilt-in safety features that allow them to work safely alongside human workers.

What is hygienic design?

Hygienic design refers to the design of equipment or machinery in a way that minimizes the risk of contamination in industries such as food or pharmaceuticals.

What is the difference between pneumatic and mechanical grippers?

Pneumatic grippers are powered by compressed air, while mechanical grippers are powered by electric motors. Pneumatic grippers are often faster than mechanical grippers, but they require a compressor to function.

What is high-speed robotics?

High-speed robotics refers to the use of robots to perform tasks that require high speed and precision. Examples include assembly line tasks or pick-and-place operations.


When it comes to buying a gripper for your robot, there are several factors to consider, including cobot gripper requirements, hygienic design requirements, and the differences between pneumatic and mechanical grippers. Additionally, if you’re considering high-speed robotics, it’s important to keep the length of pneumatic lines and the air flow requirements of the gripper in mind. With careful consideration, you can select a gripper that meets your needs and helps your robot perform tasks efficiently and effectively.


We are happy to get in touch with you! Let’s have a quick talk and find out how to automate your application. Our engineers will validate your application and provide you with test material in form of videos pictures and whitepapers:

About the Author

Adrian Ernst, Application Engineer at SoftGripping

Adrian Ernst

Sharing my article has a 99.9% chance of making a robot somewhere in the world feel happy. So, be kind to robots and share the article!


More Applications

Scroll to Top