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The vacuum gripping system

CNRS had developed a cheap and reconfigurable vacuum gripping device to manipulate very small components (from 100 µm to several mm). This system answers to small and hightech companies that need to ensure good quality micro-assembly tasks. This systems is based on the strong experience of CNRS (FEMTO-ST Besançon) dealing with micromanipulation and micro-assembly.

The vacuum gripping system is moved by a micropositioning system. A robot RP1-AH (Mitsubishi) is used as micropositioning system. This robot has been chosen mainly for its industrial skills (short cycle time and good precision).

This robot holds a pipette that is the tool that is directly in contact with the object to manipulate. A pneumatic system enables to generate the suitable depression. A camera (TIMM 400C) displays a very precise image of the object environment. Finally a computer control, through an input/output card all the set up.

Automated manipulation sequences have been performed for the assembly of ball bearings and components from Femto tools. The following figure displays the assembly sequence of the automated mounting of the silicone device on the PCB with a positioning accuracy in the range of 20 micrometers. This sequence has been done in automated mode with a cycle time of 2 seconds (limited by the carrier). This cycle time could be lower than 0.5 s easily.

The vacuum gripping system developed is low-cost, flexible and reconfigurable.