Machine loading with sensitive gripper

Automotive engineering Underbody protection

As the cell is very confined, work has to be done with a highly complex gripper which, in the event of a crash, cannot simply be replaced by a spare gripper.

Machine loading with sensitive gripper

Cell description

The customer uses a KUKA KR125 to insert throttle housings into a CNC machining centre, where surfaces on the housings are milled. The distinctive feature of the system is that the gripper is highly sensitive and complex. This is necessary because there is so little space in the cell that it is not possible to work with a more robust gripper. Among other things, the gripper is swivelled down for certain movements so that the robot can reach its positions.

Task definition

At the time of commissioning five different types of housing were handled by the cell. However, the cell needs to be able to machine close to 120 types. The enormous range of models to be handled increases the number of program points. Owing to the complexity of the gripper, it is not possible to simply fit a replacement in the event of a crash, as it is extremely difficult to manufacture a mechanically identical gripper. The result would be days of production downtime while the programs were re-taught.


For a measurement, a setting master with four measuring balls is aligned in the gripper which is then closed. Now a robot program only needs to move to five points to measure the balls. The result is the new tool frame of the gripper.

Customer benefit

The measurement gives the customer a backup of his hardware. A hardware recovery following a crash or gripper replacement is now possible at any time with another measurement. Re-teaching time is no longer necessary; the cell is backed up.