Piab Launches piSAFE Program for Gripper Safety, MX Suction Cup

Piab says it offers end-of-arm tooling with flexibility, durability, and sustainability in mind.


piSAFE systems are designed to be configurable and low-weight to be adapted for specific applications.
Piab said its new piSAFE program is designed to provide low-weight and configurable gripper options, and its MX

Piab AB, which makes gripping, lifting, and moving systems, recently announced its new piSAFE program. The Täby, Sweden-based company said the program will include configurable and low-weight products for applications requiring safety, flexibility, speed, and performance. Piab last month also announced the MX suction cup for bin picking, order fulfillment, box depalletizing, and parcel sorting.

Since 1951, Piab has been developing materials handling systems. The company has annual sales of about $175 million (U.S.), 650 employees, and a global presence in more than 100 countries. Patricia Industries, part of Investor AB, has owned Piab since 2018.

Piab designs for flexibility, ease of use

The piSAFE program is intended to provide a high level of safety and high-performing configurations with its vacuum gripping system, interfaces towards common (industrial-standard) end-of-arm tooling (EOAT), and stand-alone mounting, said Piab.

The patented COAX vacuum technology is designed for flexibility and ease of maintenance, making it suitable for challenging robotics applications and devices where safety is a key concern, claimed the company. In addition, Piab said piSAFE offers the following benefits: 

  • Vacuum safety non-return valve (check valve), which holds vacuum in sealed applications in case of a system or power failure
  • Configurations for both centralized and decentralized vacuum systems
  • Can replace more expensive mechanical or vacuum-tank safety arrangements in robotic tools and ergonomic equipment
  • Suitable in robotic applications where high demand of safety is required
  • Suitable for ergonomic lifting devices/manipulators and cranes which must comply with lifting norms such as (DIN/SS) – EN 13155 and ASME Standard B30.20
  • Through the energy saving features, the noise level is reduced as well as the carbon footprint
  • Air consumption is reduced up to 98% per cycle
  • Lightweight materials for EOAT produce less wear on robotic motors and drive allow for increased speed/acceleration or smaller, cheaper robots

The piSAFE program also offers the following features, according to Piab:

  • Configurable with vacuum ejectors based on COAX technology with integrated control functions for energy-saving and release
  • Vacuum sensing port included for easy installation of good-to-go switch
  • Configurable with different types of release functions supporting maximum release speed and air-consumption free release
  • Configurable with multiple mounting options
  • The modular design facilitates opportunities for easy maintenance, quick connect options and is fit for application configurations

The MX suction cup is designed for durablility and to offer a reliable grip on items with a variety of surfaces and shapes. Source: Piab

MX suction cup built to lead item picking

Systems integrators and robotics users no longer need to change the gripper or suction cup for each individual product in an application, Piab said. Its MX suction cup family is designed for the logistics, warehousing, e-commerce, and recycling industries.

The multi-purpose, energy-efficient suction cup is able to grasp many surfaces and materials, according to Piab. The MX can create a hard seal when using a low-vacuum flow, which contributes to a more sustainable energy output. The MX suction cups are available in five sizes: 35, 42, 50, 57, and 65 mm in diameter, and they are compatible with Piab's piGRIP fitting program. For extra safety and robustness, the company recommends aluminum clamp fittings.

Piab said MX is optimal for handling pouches, cardboard boxes, recycled objects, and items that are difficult to grasp, such thin bags. It added that its sealing performance allows for up to 50% less vacuum flow. This enables a reduction of the compressed air used by downsizing the vacuum pump. In comparison with traditional suction cups, MX suction cups can contribute to a more sustainable and energy-efficient operation, Piab claimed.

The low vacuum level design (ideally at 30-40 -kPa / 9-12 -inHg for best grip) allows customers to avoid denting or wrinkling surfaces and to have the best possibility to recycle or re-use packages for sustainability, said the company.

The MX suction cup uses DURAFLEX, Piab’s triple durometer material, which has tested positively for over 750,000 cycles. Piab boasted that it has the elasticity of rubber and the outstanding wear resistance of polyurethane, as well as elastic memory and “mark free” capabilities.

The company added that its smart suction cup design provides “exceptional sealing capability, especially at lower vacuum levels.” The MX is also able to handle different object types with various geometries and surface textures. The suction cup needs up to 50% less vacuum flow for difficult-to-pick objects while still offering a safe and sturdy grip, it said.

The MX suction cup is suitable for small-capacity vacuum systems such as piCOBOT or for vacuum systems with capacity limitations. For example, they may have fluctuations in compressed air pressure or great variations in system leakage because of product variations.

Piab also noted that the MX has a soft and thin lip for “exceptional” vacuum-sealing capabilities. It said rugged folding bellows can generate a strong holding force in dynamic grips with high accelerations and level compensation are needed. The suction cup has a firm neck to create “a safe and sturdy interface towards a variety of fitting options also including aluminum clamp fittings,” said Piab.

Piab said its MX suction cup family is suitable for picking various objects in the logistics, warehousing, e-commerce, and recycling industries.

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piSAFE systems are designed to be configurable and low-weight to be adapted for specific applications.

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