J Schmalz GmbH has expanded its Needle Gripper Series SNG with the variants SNG-AP (pneumatic) and SNG-AE (electrical). The new grippers are ideal for handling lightweight, thin and non-rigid materials such as composite textiles, as well as fleeces, filter materials, insulation materials and foams. The needle grippers SNG-AP and SNG-AE are ideally suited for automated handling of non-rigid and highly porous materials. The intersecting needles on the SNG-AP and SNG-AE needle grippers create a powerful holding force even with highly unstable workpieces. The gripper inserts several needles into the material in opposing directions, ensuring the workpiece is held securely in the correct position without being damaged. Minimised effective areas mean that even very small parts can be moved reliably. When it comes to removing the workpiece, the needles are retracted and a blow-off function ensures fast depositing. The grippers themselves weigh very little, thus allowing short cycle times. Available with needle strokes of 3, 10, and 20 mm and needle diameters of 0.8 or 1.2 mm, the Schmalz grippers can be adapted to the requirements of each individual workpiece. The SNG-AE variant is an electrically driven gripper. Its needle stroke can be changed for each individual cycle, thus allowing any stroke sequence to be implemented. The needle gripper SNG-AP incorporates a central pneumatic drive with double-acting pneumatic cylinder. The needles are extended and retracted synchronously, reducing the need for hoses and couplings. Those new to needle grippers need not worry about extensive maintenance requirements: On both the SNG-AE and the SNG-AP, the needles are quick to clean without the need for tools, and can be changed simply and efficiently. The housing has a lightweight design yet is extremely robust.
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