SCHUNK develops reliable grippers for medical applications

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Experts in more and more industries discover the benefits of automation and robotics, and this also applies to the medical technology. Previously, manual and sometimes error-prone processes can be automatically completed now with the help of automation, and associated processed can be optimized. SCHUNK has established a team of specialists to explore new fields of automation applications and to find innovative automation solutions with agile working methods. An exemplary gripper for the use in ventilators for COVID-19 patients shows where you can find potentials.

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The concept was developed in close cooperation with physicians from the University of Tübingen, and is based on automated ventilation via a resuscitator, which can be very easily set up and adjusted via touchscreen. A pressure of 4 mbar to 50 mbar, a volume from 200 ml to 800 ml, a frequency from 5 to 80 cycles per minute and an inspiratory time I:E of 1:2 to 4:1. Therefore the system covers all relevant parameters related to artificial ventilation of COVID-19 patients. SCHUNK uses proven sensor systems and mechatronic grippers with additively manufactured gripper fingers from its own product line as well as an industrially established control unit for the patent-pending system. Proper function of the device is permanently monitored and any malfunction such as leak or obstruction of the ventilation hose are immediately signaled. Due to its design, it is possible to switch between manual and automated ventilation in a very short time.

A look at other industries

“This application illustrates how versatile and reliable our gripping systems components can be used in the field of medical technology and other industries,” underlines Timo Gessmann, Chief Technology Officer, and encourages the creative use of the potential of automation solutions. “The modular design of our software and electronics enables us to implement new functions and services within a very short time. With our new team for new types of automation applications we are able to successfully implement such customer- and solution-oriented products and solutions from “the development up to certification.”

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